I’ve seen JL (pictured) perform a few times, but I haven’t heard much in the way of recordings. The beats on this EP were cooked up by my man Info Gates, who I’m also more familiar with as an MC than as a producer. So, I was curious. Heavy Metal Objects is available on JL’s bandcamp page to stream for free or five bones to download the whole thing.
Since it’s only six tracks and I can embed ‘em all pretty easily, I’m just gonna give a quick rundown of each track.
1. H.M.O. Intro
H.M.O. Intro by JL of B.Hood
I’m impressed with the intro for how well it functions as an intro. The music builds step by step, from church organ to moog, which alone is a quirky combo in my mind. Actually, I realized Info loves the sound of organs, digital or analog, all over this EP. The drums don’t drop until a full minute into the song. JL kicks it off with a casual, cipher-style flow with solid Midwestern wordplay. What really sold me is how he subtly worked in a nod to some of his influences (“Mo Murda Mo’s what I heard, learnin’ the words, built a foundation”) and the personal reasons that he raps. Plus, he throws in a few rapid bars and I’m a sucker for speedy delivery like any good Kansas City kid.
2. Take Under
Take Under by JL of B.Hood
This is the car track, if you ask me. It’s got wild kick-snare slaps and deranged space carnival instrumentation. JL spits with a tinge of Bay Area silliness and overpronunciation. Or, at least I always sense some Bay flavor when I find myself bobbing my head in a circle instead of up-and-down, haha. It’s fun. Download it and crank it in your system.
3. For The Win ft. Cuddy Mac
For The Win ft Cuddy Mac by JL of B.Hood
Noise. We got a steady metal scale riff on the electric guitar, and a metric shit-ton of crash cymbal. Cuddy Mac spits frantically, sounding like he’s yelling raps from a padded room. JL goes in with that same urgency. “They say our chances to make it are paper thin, but I never listen to them, I’m goin in for the win.” The structure of this song is weird. It’s not your standard verse-chorus alternation, but more like a series of breakdowns, with layers of instruments coming and going unexpectedly.
4. The Midi
The Midi by JL of B.Hood
DJs pay attention and get your PayPal accounts handy. Especially you dubstep remix heads. Plodding bass line and a sludgy Godemis vocal sample at the start should be enough to get your attention. By the way, Info Gates, plugging all these keys into this track and titling it “The Midi”… I see what you did there. JL’s first verse pulls the chop out and goes fully with rapidity. His second verse almost reminds me of Brother Ali for a few bars but then he turns on the afterburners again.
5. Delta ft Joey Cool & Mel Balu
Delta ft Joey Cool & Mel Balu by JL of B.Hood
Maybe I’m making this up, because I’m not a smoker, but this sounds like the weed head song to me. Joey Cool and Mel Balu both bring verses that are simultaneously energetic and mega chill.
6. Like A Rock ft Vi Royal & Zoo of B.Hood
Like A Rock ft Vi Royal & Zoo of B.Hood by JL of B.Hood
Okay, I never thought I’d hear a rapper make a Vinny Testaverde reference. Oh, and when I saw the title “Like A Rock,” I was just happy to find out there weren’t any Bob Seger samples. This is a good closing song, it brings some of the themes full circle to the intro. I’ve never heard anyone from B.Hood besides JL before, so it’s good to hear what a crew track might be like. The grinding tempo of this one has a little more Southern flavor to it and gets a little hypnotizing. It’s 4 minutes long, but seems kinda short for some reason. Or, I’ll say that if there were 3 minutes of instrumental appended to the end of it, I’d probably just zone out and groove til it faded out and not even notice. Another one for you smot pokers out there.
You clearly have the intarwebz if you’re reading this, so you have no excuse not to give that shit a listen… whether or not you value my verbose play-by-play.