Jerrell - Dream Soda
Posted by Stephen Maddox on Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 1:14pm EST
According to the artist Jerrell Johnson "The name of the mixtape is Dream Soda (Soda stands for “So others do also”) I made it because I felt as if dreaming was being kinda shunned within the christian community so I just wanted to put something out for the people that have dreams and are still dreaming.....”
I identify myself as one of those people. As a teen I spent many days locked up in my room with double cassette deck making homemade ‘mixtapes’ full of imaginary emcees I made in my mind. That creativity blossomed into freestyling, a hobby I still enjoy. I feel that same energy I felt at 16 when I listen to Dream Soda. This mixtape is fresh in every sense of he word.
After being a hip hop fan for 30+years, its hard for me to get excited about new material. I’ve come to grips with that over the last couple years. I’ve humbled myself to the fact that some of my disinterest is due more to personal preference than true lack of creativity or ingenuity on the part of the artists. With that said, there is a lot of ‘filler’ out there, carbon copy cookie cutter hip hop, in pop and underground circles. Which is what makes this Dream SODA ‘mixtape’ that much better to listen to. It’s beautifully original.
While many emcees can be categorized based on who they sound like (usually Jay, Ye, 50, Weezy or Em) , Jerrell’s voice, flow and cadence are totally original. His not your prototypical southern rapper who has a twang and ‘errr’ added to every lyric, but at the same time he’s not caught up in sounding unsouthern (is that a term? LOL). He effortlessly changes up rhyme His metaphors are often layered allowing you to catch new meanings the next listen. A great example is the title track Dream SODA, when he rhymes about Dreams in liquefied form throughout every line.“...I got the remedy right here/ pull up a chair with your friends I’m too young to drink nightmares/ so I’m sippin off of the daydream /chased down with coke/ ain't no problem though/ if you need a shot of hope I gotcha/ leave the 40 oz of doubt up in the locker....” When I first heard those lines I wished this was an actual tape so I could rewind it! classic!
Jerrell touches on topics that I am far from age wise on some tracks, but his crafty story telling on the track Acne transport my mind right back to 8th grade and high school. He pushes boundaries with tracks like D75 pt 1 and 2 painting a vivid soundscape comparing gangsta rappers to androids with help from the homey Eons D. The ongoing background theme of the relationship between one of the characters in this audio movie and a supercomputer named Caroline harkens my mind to a few of the sci fi movies I grew up watching. The highlight of the mixtape for me is the track Serato. While I have heard the beat before on the Othello/Theory Hazit track 1000 Paper Cranes, the metaphoric wordplay comparing vinyl to a jaded ex-love interest is some of the best I have heard. All the guest spots (Eons D , JusThoughtz, Sicily, Mysteryous, Ker-leen) are all extremely well done. Matter of fact, I would venture to say that this ‘mixtape’ (whatever that may mean these days) is one of the best I have ever heard. Also Jerrell gets mad respect for arranging the songs with skits in a way that keeps you locked in from start to finish. A rare feat in our digitized age. Thank you for this Jerrell I look forward to your future offerings!
Categorical Ratings Breakdown:
Lyrics/ Delivery: 4.5/5
Beat Selection/production: 4/5
Download here: Bandcamp
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