Smile Politely

Rare Diggable Music Report: Text’s Jameson Dreams

“Sometimes I feel like hip-hop has me runnin’ in place.”

True. But, the ability to move minds and bodies keeps you from standing still for too long.

I admit: as one of the fresh-faced youth that came to Champaign-Urbana in 2002, and having been exposed to the hip-hop scene here for the lot of my college career (5.5 years and going strong!), I can say that the way Text describes his passion could be readily applied to hip-hop heads in this town. But, with a very hopeful outcome, if the current trend of albums and releases continue.

If you haven’t come across the Broke Rappers Coalition, or BRC, then you may want to stand in their path for a little while, if for nothing else but to catch Text performing. His most recent release, Jameson Dreams, is anything but a drunken romp through 13 tracks. Text weaves a web that dodges between full-on rhythmic confessional, to lyrical onslaught with several of his BRC brethren.

Metaphorically, it seems as though Text is literally channeling the “voyage through the bottle,” as he takes listeners on a run of highs, lows, poetic half-full/half-empty glass runs, and all with a daft sense of navigation: in the comfort of himself, the doldrums of everyday life, the bravado of the microphone hero, and the resolutions of where he stands as an artist.

As to how Text melds with the instrumental, he shows rarely seen dexterity and versatility, as many of the instrumentals show a wide, eclectic taste. Beats jump between live instrumentation (Track 9 — “I’m Movin’ On”), the traditional chamber method of hip-hop boom-bap (Track 5 — “Click, Click, Click”), and smoky, feathered-drumstick, lounge jazz (Track 7 — “A Kiss is Just a Kiss”).

As an adventure in emceeing, Jameson Dreams takes so many cues from so many different trains of thought, but leaves neither stone unturned, nor baggage unchecked. His blunt honesty and storytelling on tracks conjures ghosts of both Slick Rick and Atmosphere. But, the sometimes adventurous and sometimes “glory of everyday” subject matter, and instrumentals, point toward emcees such as Kero One, Braille or perhaps even Aesop Rock, minus the virtual hailstorm of science dystopia-tinged imagery.

Because of all these factors, Jameson Dreams emerges as not only “headphone hip-hop” worthy of listen after listen, but hip-hop that also presents approachability; an MC that you could drink with, and discuss life as it relates to music, not just the music itself.

After a robust 13 tracks, this listener doesn’t feel a hint of a hangover from Jameson Dreams, but side effects might include moving on to the next bottle, and putting the CD on repeat.

The album is definitely diggable, and worthy of copping when and where it presents itself. So, grab a glass, some ice, and come out on the front porch. Jameson Dreams will have you clinking full glasses. Cheers.

Text’s Jameson Dreams is currently available at Exile on Main Street.

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