Even in this era, hip-hop's billion-dollar era, when most MCs talk about all the paper (money), whips (cars) and ice (diamonds) they got, the stuff is so new, there's no tan lines under the iced-out Rolex, and they still ain't figured out what all them little buttons in the Range (Rover) do. Then there's Jermaine Dupri: hip-hop old money. Remember Kris Kross? Remember TLC? J.D. laced them with hot beats, just as he's lacing Usher and Mariah Carey today. So on his first solo album, Life in 1472, when J.D. talks about all his paper, whips and ice, you best believe nigga is truly keepin' it real.
1472 is a solo record like Quincy Jones' multicollaborator Back on the Block was a "solo" record. So this party album tailor-made for the club or that roll-the-top-down-we-headin'-to-the-barbecue-y'all drive is constructed like a party. J.D. lays down his guaranteed shoulder-bouncin', funked-out, too-lush, glittering tracks; speaks of spending money, drinking Cristal and wearing jewelry that gleams; and then invites all his friends Mariah and most of the hottest MCs in hip-hop: Nas, Jay-Z, DMX, Slick Rick, Too $hort, Mase, Lil' Kim and Snoop Doggy Dogg. In an era when no rap album is complete without a cornucopia of guest stars, J.D.'s long guest list still stands out.
Amid all the glitter, glam talk, it's easy to forget that J.D. the MC ain't no slouch. As in modern football, most hip-hoppahs are one-way players, either producing or rhyming. Of the few Deion Sanders, go-both-ways types we got Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, Puff only the RZA out-MCs J.D. That drawled-out, cigarette-toasted voice whips through "I'm a Benz bubble cat/Leather: with the wood grain/In the platinum frame/Screamin' 'It's not a game'" (from the off-the-meter, blazing single "Money Ain't a Thang"). J.D. never gets any more personal and autobiographical than that, but then, he's old money: He's been rich so long, being rich is who he is. They want memoir? They want pathos? Let 'em eat cake. (RS 792)
(Posted: Jul 9, 1998)
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