Three jerks and an SP-1200 walk into the record bins at the Salvation Army…that’s not the beginning of a joke, it’s what Pimps don’t Pay Taxes sounds like. Capturing the last gasp of Gulliani era “Fuck you, asshole!” New York and spitting it back over lo-fi 1950’s movie loops, the album casts J-Zone and the Old Maid Billionaires as the ultimate rap shmucks. These guys couldn’t do anything right: hold their liquor, hold down a job, get the girl or even bust a damn nut without catching VD. Fuck swagger, these guys lacked basic social skills. I mean, Zone cons a platonic friend into sex by buying out Macy’s and then proceeds to drug her and return the gear! Who the hell does that? And why didn’t I think of it first? Don’t even get me started about the beats: if you never considered sampling an elderly Eastern European’s record collection to make an indie rap classic, this album will make you think again; it’s all wobbly violin loops, hollow drums and quotes from 1$ Matinee movies out in Time Square. Along with Quasimoto’s Unseen it’s one of the last great records molded by the sound of this ancient, finicky but brilliant sounding piece of equipment, a sound sorely missed for most of this decade.

It’s unsurprising that J-Zone went in new directions after this record: who wants to be the loveable loser when everyone else in your city is pushing a Bentley? But 10 years later, now that the Stock Brokers are working at McDonalds and the trust fund kids are running out of cash to pay for their Williamsburg lofts, this is a good reminder of what New York sounds like when you’re broke. –Sach O

MP3: J-Zone-“Live From Pimp Palace East”
MP3: J-Zone-“I’m Fucking Up for the Money”

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