J.Al and Jova is a hip-hop duo from Cincinnati, OH known as Those Guys that recently released For Good Reason. As they claim on their Bandcamp page is this is good hip-hop. I have to say I agree. What makes it good? The fact that the structures of the songs themselves aren’t generic and have inventive beats that feel experimental yet accessible. They are gifted lyricists who have great delivery and work off each other like oil in an engine. They drive the songs with their words but you could easily enjoy the music if it was all-instrumental. Better yet each song introduces different tones, sounds and rhythms but it never feels like a disparate experience.
The album starts off strong with “Dear Kanye.” I thoroughly enjoyed the intricate percussive elements, the synth lines and above all the dynamic vocal performances. The lyrics are intelligent on the verse as the vocalist raps about moving on with his music career: “You must be outside your mind to think I’m not outside my mind for being outside my grind still looking up at all this headroom, and realize there’s no opportunities in my bedroom.” “Soul Food” has a hard but slow hip-hop beat. The emphasis is on the lyrics as his rhymes are spit out twice as fast as the music.
“Madness Is The Method” has some of the most experimental sounds on the album. The drum kit sounds organic and jazzy while the main texture is a pad of white noise. This leaves a huge amount of space for J.Al and Jova to get creative with their lyrics. Towards the end of the song it changes gears completely as the organic drum kit is replaced and different synth sounds are introduced. I was grooving to the organ on “Bad Guy” as it gave the song an ample amount of energy for the listener to latch on to while “The Crisis” is more like a declaration as the vocalist gives an motivational performance for a gorgeous sounding piano piece.
Those Guys have produced a good album with some very inventive hip-hop. I wouldn't be surprised to hear the band on the radio sometime in the future when no will have to have ask who “those guys” are because they will already know.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook