The last few years has saw the rise of the ‘mumble rapper’: artists who prioritise melody and flow while their lyrics suffer. This style has become the normal standard, topping the charts and prospering in current times. People may believe the days of ‘real hip-hop’ and lyricism is dead, but I have discovered that if you look hard enough in 2018 the traits of the past are still thriving and progressing today.
Baltimore native Jayy Grams is 19 years old and has been rapping for 3 years, and while people the same age are making their name with the mumble style, Jayy raps over old school beats and focuses heavily on lyrics. What I love about Jayy is the fact he is a student of the game, he talks about OG’s that came before him in admiration and pays homage to them on tracks – one tack “Wufi” he samples a Wu Tang track and puts his own spin on it.
Jayy’s debut album is titled ‘Grime & Basslinez’, it was released at the end of last year and it shows a lot of potential and talent. Prior to this project Jayy released a 5 track EP in November 2017,so it seems he’s still fresh to the game.
“Pig Theory” is a stand out track on Jayy’s new album, take a guess what this track is about? That’s right, everyone’s favorite topic, the police… specifically their history of racial profiling and unfair treatment of black men. This track feels personal, it’s like the release of years of built up aggression. If you could say everything you’ve ever wanted to say to an officer with no repercussions “Pig Theory” would be the outcome. “My ni**a you a grown hall monitor” is one of my favorite lines from this track.
“Wufi” is the track I talked about at the beginning of this review, it features a sample from Wu Tang that Grams more than does justice to. This track features a few quotable bars; “The lord cursed me with no chill, but then graced me with rhymes” and “Seen ni**as leaning off the lean and then they lean in a knife”.
“Oh Sh*t” is possibly the hardest track on this album, when I first listened to this I low-key got early Mobb Deep vibes. This is a hood anthem, Jayy details the environment he grew up in and how he is trying to get out of that world. Jayy sounds really slick on this, his flow is mad and lyrically he’s on point from start to finish. “I swear the forces of the law doing no work, claim they investigating but streets always know first”
Closing the debut album is “Rap Robbery”, this is the track every old hip-hop head has been wanting to hear for the last few years. Straight off the top Jayy puts his point forward “Ayo fuck a mumble rapper on God spit another track”. Jayy comes for the new school of mumble rappers in a respectfully disrespectful way; he shows love, saying he’s glad these new kids made it but they need to show some respect to the genre that brought them up. Similar to 50 Cent on “How to Rob”, Jayy takes shots at Lil Pump “Lyrically robbing Lil Pump with his toolie”. Jayy bodies this track and it has to be my favorite off the project.
This is a great project from Jayy Grams, he’s young and has a lot of potential to grow and become even better. He has a few freestyles on YouTube you should check out and keep an eye on Jayy’s social media because he’s always posting short clips of him spitting.
Written by Ryan Duff