When a human being such as Jam Baxter channels ones energy into a specific direction you can do little but take a step back and bask in the glory being weaved between your skull. Baxter has always had a way of illuminating the very atmosphere he strives to distort, liquify and mould into descriptive tales, concepts that wouldn’t sound amiss extracted straight from the minds of various geniuses, mad men and extraterrestrial beings.
Jam Baxter is no newbie when it comes unleashing prolific projects making up 1/5 of Contact Play while being an assertive figure within SMB he identifies exactly what needs to be imprinted within his music, with his first LP “Rinse Out Friday/Spack Out Monday” still blissfully resonating around our craniums, his latest venture “The Gruesome Features” had us completely entangled in his gargantuan web of melodious dopery.
The saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ couldn’t hold any less weight in reference to this album, the whole shebang has got the artistic dabblings of illustrator Samuel Bell decorating its shell, inviting the eye to wander over various befitting characters and ultimately the reverse…. to the tracklisting.
If ever a more fitting bunch of feature artists & producers were to appear on an album it would have to be on a Baxter piece, an obvious connoisseur of musical talents himself its clear to see he has included artist’s he not only respects for their recording capacities but also for the coherence they add to the album.
First track kick starting them quintessential hip-hop endorphins after “Brains” is “Borrowed Time ft. Ed Scissortongue” which see’s Scissor & Baxter almost battling for supremacy over intricate wordplays and jabby deliverance with Pete Cannon offering a Dojo consisting of abrupt kick snares and plucky keys. Kerem Fraiche drops one of several Dope productions off the album with “Who Ft Leaf Dog” nothing but superior gets recorded when Baxter & Leafy cross paths. “Gourmet Flesh” holds some serious weight from Baxter with Ramson Badbonez injecting his explosive energy over a ferocious verse while Ben 9mm proves he should stick to hip-hop using a sick Spanish guitar rift over mechanical drum loops. Jam Baxter shows us a tweak of a rarely heard side of deliverance on “Eggs ft. Dabbla” switching between his characteristic elaborate lyricism on a double time flow which ties both his and Dabbla styles together perfectly (watch out for Dead Players Baxter/Dabbla/Ghostown). “Filet Mignon” embodies the spark Dike & Baxter purvey in their live shows into a jazzy fusion of slurred verses.
For obvious reasons this next track had me drawing for a paper bag to control my hyperventilating lungs, “Fine ft. Chester P” sees one of my personal dreams collaborations come true, two colossal wordsmiths FINALLY exchanging on the same track, as individuals both have similarities while retaining enough differences to keep them unique, together a completely different picture’s painted, the pair flow effortlessly into one, complimenting style and flow, almost ending up sounding like alter egos of one another.
“Altitude Sickness” “Squashed” & “Larvae” see’s a hatrick of High Focus appearances, Baxter & Bosh bringing a surreal dreamlike feel on “Altitude Sickness” featuring my favorite opening lines from Baxter, while “Squashed” sees Baxter toe to toe with Verb T on some life assessing issh. Then High Focus Head Honcho Fliptrix gracing “Larvae”
“Tin Of Worms” again Chester P & Jam reunite on a more Boom Bap head snapper allowing both to stray more into their own classes, they both sound fucking tremendously dope on the same track I cannot stress that enough. The Album ends on “Snooze Button/Gruesome Features” and I’ve got to say this is my favorite joint of the album, its one of only 3 solo tracks on the album and one that really catches Jam Baxter in the most natural of lights, Shankles & Kerem Fraiche background atmospheric productions allow Baxter to do what he does best rip multiple verses, similes, metaphors and concepts that’ll leave you scratching your head.
The album as a whole is a lot more than I have written, its almost impossible to justify the sheer intensity Baxters Lyricism holds, his ability to weave words that on there own are meaningless into sophisticated spews of never ending depth, I’ve listened to this album numerous times on repeat after each listen something new drops into place, something else appears in its place it’s a never ending journey connecting you directly onto the same wave length of an extremely talented artist. I’ve always been slightly in awe of the aptitude Baxter possesses, this album for me has not only placed him firmly as my favorite rapper of recent times but also opened my mind to what proper music should sound like. With abstract subjects, dope conjuring of verses a long list of exceptional rappers all being played against some of the sickest cuts brought to us by a handful of respected producers you have got to buy this album I repeat GOT TO BUY THE ALBUM…..if you don’t Jam Baxter will come and trample you with a quackpig.
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