JStreet – Welcome To My Street – EP Review
We’re checkin’ out JStreet’s debut EP here today. If you didn’t know the man was still just gettin’ his career rollin’ and puttin’ his music out there for the first time based on how he sounds like he’s been rockin’ the mic with confidence for some time – you can tell he’s a lil’ green still by the ‘beer’ you see featured in the opening shots of the video for “Facts Bitch.” If you want “Facts Bitch,” I’ll give’em to ya – that ain’t beer. Ohhhhhhhhhh! #sickburn #imoneofthosedamnhipsterIPAlovinguysyallhate
Obviously I’m kidding around, I don’t give a shit what anyone drinks or what they don’t. Music is the only thing that has ever mattered to me, and surprise surprise, that hasn’t changed today. With talent like JStreet’s got…I mean…he’s got microphone skills that’ll lead him towards better beers one day – everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right? So raise up a pint, roll up a blunt, put’em in the air & toast up to JStreet here…dude’s off to a solid start with what he’s got goin’ on his debut, Welcome To My Street.
If you tuned into the last episode of the SBS Podcast, we already gave ya your first dose of what this dude is capable of in spinning the cut called “Who” from this record on the show as the finale cut. I ain’t gonna lie, adding JStreet to pretty much any lineup of songs would basically turn it into the SBS Podcast After Dark – he’s an explicit character without apologies, no doubt about that – but just like I told ya on our show, it’s all about commitment & dedication – if you’ve got that, doesn’t matter what the topic or theme might be, the people will catch on. JStreet doesn’t mince words when it comes to what he wants to communicate and I dig that…you gotta have confidence to make lyrics like he’s got actually work, and that’s certainly an area where the guy excels without question. Couple spots to evolve & grow for sure – but just like I point out every time, when you’re just getting your career rolling along, every one of you should want that same result. To come outta the gate with nowhere else to go would be the purest hell.
The main thing you wanna accomplish with a debut is establishing that lasting impact that’s gonna have us remembering your name, which JStreet has no problem doing with this EP. “Facts Bitch” starts this record out on pretty strong material – lyrically, JStreet comes out crushing it right off the drop and reveals a rhythm & flow that moves fluidly & proves he’s got no problem hittin’ his bars with precision. Beat-wise, I ain’t gonna lie…it’s not the selling feature here; it works, but it’s not the standout element in comparison to listening to JStreet rap…this would be one of those spots where there’s room to take it up a level when it comes time for that next EP. Ultimately it’s pretty spare & bare with just a couple of synth keys really keeping it all together – I like that it gives the man all the room in the world to make an impression on us from the mic, which he does – but I can definitely hear that a more involved, surround-sound style of beat & music would give JStreet’s rhymes even more of an advantage in terms of making that lasting impact on the listeners out there. As it stands, “Facts Bitch” is still highly likely to win you over though – and JStreet should take some real comfort in that – with the design of the music in more of a minimalist approach, it was up to him to bring the maximum to the m-i-c, which again, I felt like he did. He’s stylistic, he makes smart choices in how he pivots, shifts, and transitions through the bars with his word selection – and he’s not making the mistake of just finding things that rhyme to fill the space; JStreet’s focused in how he writes & performs, and most importantly, he says whatever the fuck it is he really wants to say, like it or not. I also like that he’s got a video put together for EVERY one of these cuts on his debut EP – that shows he’s ready and willing to put in the work y’all – that’s “Facts Bitch.” He’s also clearly out to cause a lil’ mayhem in music as well…and you know I’ve always got time for that.
Length-wise, things get significantly shorter from here on in, with each cut hovering between two to two & a half-minutes in total, compared to the nearly four minutes of the first track. “A Penny 4 Your Thot$” is…well, it’s a genius title to start with, let’s just make that clear right off the drop – but JStreet also makes a smart decision here based on the style/sound he’s rockin’ with. Going shorter isn’t always something I’m gonna recommend – making any song is always its own individual journey & all – but if the music in behind ya isn’t going to do too much beyond what it does, as in using loops & whatnot, then shorter is certainly the way to go and the best approach to going about ensuring that a track still stays repeatable & doesn’t wear out too fast, even despite a smaller timeframe. Let’s be real here – JStreet just needs bars – his personality & character pretty much take over from there – and right now, the music he’s got is really just a vehicle for him getting these words of his onto wax & out into the world. It’s not hindering him, but it’s also not quite providing the same spark he’s capable of generating from the mic…ultimately, I think you’d be looking for more of an equal split in that regard. You always wanna be the main star of the show in the music you make, of course – but at the same time, you can always look at things like how the split gets divided up. Like say, for instance…I’m just spitting out random numbers here…but say like, if the vocals are making 90% of the impact on us and the music makes up the other 10%, they don’t necessarily need to come out 50-50, but you’ve got a lot of space to bring that level of the music up to have it carry more weight, you feel me? Because chances are, and I’d say this is the case with JStreet – that 90% is still really gonna stay 90%…or whatever the percentage – the point is that the music will carry more beef to it, while the vocals will still remain the main feature. Explicit AF, middle fingers raised up high…JStreet doesn’t pull any punches on “A Penny 4 Your Thot$,” puts in a stylistic performance that has him bending syllables to his will, and he’s commanding the mic – the main positives of what he does, are right there in the man himself…the rest is just twisting dials back & forth and finding that mix & music that’ll suit him best, which always sorts itself out over time. Ideas are the part you can’t teach, and JStreet’s got plenty of’em. They’re all proudly rude as hell, but make no mistake, they’re still quality ideas & he’s got a signature style that’s already identifiable by track two.
Alright…so. Couple things that are key for this guy goin’ forward, and the majority of what he needs to know about his pathway to success, are right there in the blueprint of “Know Me” and the examples it provides. First thing you’ll notice – the fluidity of the verses and bars – JStreet’s got this so dialed-in & perfected, there’s zero doubt that he’s got a serious highlight for his capabilities right here on display that would instantly grab anyone’s attention. Stellar speed, solid rhymes, committed, confident, cool – it’s all that – “Know Me” starts out immediately on solid ground and stands out for all the right reasons. Musically, it’s still in that short-bar style and minimalist design, but with a bit more low-end here, it also seems like it’s a better fit for JStreet as he carves this beat up with slickness & quickness. It ain’t just pace though – this sounds like really knowing the material inside & out…and even by comparison to say, something like “A Penny 4 Your Thot$” right beforehand, again, the blueprint for the pathway forward is illuminated here – “Know Me” reveals what it sounds like when JStreet is right in the grip of his flow, 100%. He’s owning the moment on the verses, and that’s what is going to pull people onboard when it comes to “Know Me” for sure – despite the hooks of the chorus. I gotta call it like I hear it folks, you know that’s how I do my thing, never out of malice, only out of pure intentions to do whatever it is I can to bring out the true badassery in you all…and yeah, the chorus of “Know Me” pales in comparison to what this man is rockin’ in the verses. And JStreet – you know it – that’s my main issue here. Even in a debut situation, I gotta judge an artist by what they’ve shown us, and JStreet has already proven he’s got a solid understanding of what makes a hook connect…I just felt like “Know Me” takes it down a degree where you’d expect it to go up is all. The chorus comes out faded, hazy, and lacking that same significant punch of the energy you get in the verses, almost creating an anti-hook…gonna be up to the man behind the microphone on this one to determine whether or not he’s given it his 100% in that particular moment, or spent that time catching his breath from how much the verses required before. The hooks themselves…might still work…I just think they need that same inspired spark – let’s be real here, what you get in the verses of “Know Me” is absolutely stellar – and you want that roll to continue as an artist, and as a listener as well. Best advice I can give any artist or band in any style or genre is to incorporate the Dave Grohl rule of writing that main hook, using that for your verses, going back and writing an even bigger hook for your chorus, and boom – single-worthy tune. Something like that. I’m gonna be real with ya – what JStreet does on the bars & verses of “Know Me” is strong enough to keep me interested and loving this track overall…but yes, I think there’s still spots for the man to level-up when it comes to the main hooks of “Know Me,” at the very least in the energy department. The singing is fine – it just needs the power to go with it – rappers tend to run into this issue all the time if I’m being honest…it’s like y’all think you’re gonna lose some street cred if you can hit an R&B hook for a minute, but it ain’t like that – we’re all about it as listeners and generally speaking, love it when rappers hit their own hooks and flex a whole different gear by singing. It comes down to belief that it can be done – like all JStreet’s gotta do is recognize his tone is there, and give it all the energy & power his hooks deserve.
If you tuned into the latest episode of the SBS Podcast, you heard “Who” on the show along with more of my thoughts on what JStreet does, and what he’s been up to with his main homeboy Timmy Turn Up in the growing collective known as Addictive Accidents. Top form on this track, no doubt – I was stoked to play “Who” on our show, especially with it being one of the most bulletproof cuts on Welcome To My Street from start to finish. I got no real substantial complaints here…the most you’re gonna hear from me is that I can hear the low-end rumble of this enormous bass-driven beat would be a beast to try & wrestle under the red-line & I’m not 100% sure that was able to actually happen, but I’m not hearing anything so rough that it would turn anyone off either. At the end of the day, “Who” is bound to shake & rattle your walls and thump them subs of yours as JStreet does his thing…no matter how much you could try & bring that beat under the threshold, it’s still destined to bump those family photos of yours off the shelves in your house. “Yes I do rap, don’t do the mumblin’” – and that’s truth – JStreet is crystal clear, direct, stylistic AF, and all-out crushin’ it as he hits the bars of “Who” – this is the kind of high-level performance you wanna hear from the man – he’s got just as much personality as he’s got precision working in his favor on this cut. A perfect example of how the man himself is the real hook in what he’s got on this debut record – once he starts flowin’ on “Who” he never relents, never quits, stays hungry for every syllable, and puts genuine style & swagger into every word – this is JStreet at his most focused. He’s got cops on his dick when he ain’t bubblin’ stomachs with his meat stick…I mean…I told ya from the moment I’ve been listening this dude goes raw & unfiltered at ya…he spares ya no quarter in the details. I’m all about it homie – especially if it sounds like this – “Who” has JStreet on that next-level lyrical flow.
I could see a track like “Shit Talk” going both ways for the masses out there listening. My gut tells me that the twinkle of the music is a bit too high up both volume & frequency-wise that it could potentially wear this cut out on listeners pretty quickly…but by the same token, there’s a novelty value in this track that might also win people over in that regard. I’m always realistic about the layout of a record and the effect of what it’s like for a song to come after a significant highlight in the set-list, which could be what gets the better of “Shit Talk” here at the very end, coming after what’s arguably the EP’s best overall cut. With a more playful style of sound & beat at work in the vibe & atmosphere, this last track does end up kind of coming off as more of an afterthought than what we’ve experienced so far, but just as there has been in every joint along the way through Welcome To My Street, there are plenty of points of positive redemption provided by what JStreet gives ya in his words & performance. He’ll make you laugh out loud with a ton of what he says, or at the very least have you raising an eyebrow or two from the shock of it all in most cases…whether he’s goin’ serious or keepin’ it loose, you pay attention to his words and they remain the main feature throughout his entire debut EP, as they should. If you’re watching the video for “Shit Talk” as well…which I’d imagine you are, because why the heck not get the visuals to go with these songs as you’re listening, we’re in the age of the internet y’all – but pay specific attention to…I believe it’s right between 1:14-1:15…it’s a real short moment in the video, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll see the original point I was making at the outset of this review. That ain’t beer homie. If it was, you’d have never let that sip hit the ground, just sayin.’ I better cut my “Shit Talk” or I’m gonna end up on a diss-track with my rep destroyed via the rhymes of JStreet on his next EP if I’m not careful. My main highlight comes in from the bars of “Know Me” – I think the best track from start to finish both performance/accessibility-wise is “Who” – & for a debut record, I think he stands out for the personality he puts into a microphone & gives you plenty of confidence in his ability to craft hard bars that connect.
Support what JStreet’s got goin’ on & building with Addictive Accidents at Patreon right here at this link: https://www.patreon.com/AddictiveAccidents412
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