J. Period – Best of the Roots

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J sets himself apart from the mixtape massive by catering to the “conscious movement” which is the closest you can get to classic Hip Hop in my eyes. Who other than J could turn a drop from LAURYN HILL into an official hosting by chopping it up so well that even critics couldn’t tell? That mixtape was a classic! “THE BEST OF LAURYN HILL” established J PERIOD and his movement. The next installment featured the “GRAMMY FAMILY” although I didn’t find that as entertaining. KANYE and COMMON are exceptional mc’s and when you put CONSEQUENCE and the GLC next to them, they just don’t seem to shine the way they would, were they not in the presence of their more famous counterparts.

I always think of ways that a project can be improved and all though “BEST OF THE ROOTS” was flames, the group made their bones doing live shows. I think the cd could have given more shine to what they do when their live. They have so many different elements and guests in their performances. I went to a show in DURHAM, NH (it was devoid of any people of color) and they had MARTIN LUTHER with them. He added another segment to the show that I didn’t count on. I was amazed at how accepting the crowd was. J laced us with some live and “rare” joints, but the release lacked what the ROOTS CREW are known for; spontaneity.

“BEST OF THE ROOTS” is anchored by continuity. J has convinced me of his ability to choose a good project and fill it with rare material. It’s the combination that makes his releases special, but I’m ready to see the old dog pull off some new tricks! When you’re dealing with “best of” material, you have to give the fans something more. “BEST OF THE ROOTS” definitely had its moments, but the “oh shit” factor wasn’t there. It was a good look getting JILL SCOTT to do a drop, because I don’t think I’ve ever heard her on a mixtape before, but it was hardly the climatic moment that I was waiting for! This is far from a disappointment, but hardly what it could have been!