Mobb Deen is back on both feet
Alabama hasn’t necessarily made the biggest national imprint on rap history but the good folks there aren’t exactly Wyoming either. Between Rich Boy, G-Side, Jackie Chain and Yelawolf, there’s enough impressive activity to constitute a scene of sorts, even if none of the aforementioned rappers had a sustained mainstream run. The newest rapper in that lineage to these ears, Jay Dot Rain, has been kicking around for a good minute but his latest offering, The Dixie Renaissance, is the first time I’ve been tempted enough to take the plunge. In retrospect, I probably did my ears a disservice.
Jay Dot Rain isn’t necessarily reinventing the rim with this project but that hasn’t been a stick to beat anyone with for about two decades now. Execution is where this man excels. Between his mostly laconic delivery and the subdued production filled with references ranging from the Wu-Tang Clan to Goodie Mob, Jay Dot Rain manages to elevate what could come off as pedestrian material in the hands of a lesser rapper. I hate to do it to the man but I can’t stop thinking The Dixie Renaissance is the best J. Cole album J. Cole will never make because he’s a bit of a dweeb. I also hated writing that last sentence because you might make the mistake of confusing Jay Dot Rain with an inferior rapper. Add that to the disservice tab.
While most of the credit has to go to Jay Dot Rain for his assured delivery throughout the project, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note his connections to DJ Burn One and The Block Beattaz. You’d have to be a really shitty fucking rapper to fuck up a project with those veteran beatsmiths anchoring proceedings. It’s a lot easier to relate to aspirational everyday rap topics when you’re listening to said topics over the jazziest and sparsest synths this side of a St. Germain interlude. But the best part is that most of the swing still comes from Jay Dot’s voice.
Now that I think of it, The Dixie Renaissance is easily one of the better rap projects I’ve heard in 2015, given the weight I tend to give to cohesion and brevity. And if you’re wondering what the title is about, you’ll have to ask someone else. All I know is plastic silverware and dope rap.