The South Side Jumpoff (3.75 stars),
This review is from: 58 Ent Presents: What's Your Jumpoff? [Explicit] (MP3 Music)
"What's Your Jumpoff?" is the debut album from indy label 58th Street Entertainment (or simply 58 ENT) out of south side Minneapolis. The duo consists of B Bev on the mic and Ben Blanco (also founder of 58 ENT) behind the boards. The first thing you will find from sampling the album, is that the album sounds "low budget" for lack of a better term. True, the album does lack certain engineering/mastering qualities. It's not terrible, but noticeable. However, when you move onto the actual material, you will find these guys have some substantial skills to bring to the game.
It's clear that B Bev & Ben Blanco have a clear cut love for hip-hop, and it comes through in their soulful blend of reality rap. The duo works nicely together. They have some nice chemistry and seem to be on the same wavelength throughout. B Bev is not a spectacular rapper, but he serves up a respectable slice of his life, and does it very well. While Blanco's beats lack a little in the engineering department, I really like his style and sample choices. He melds together lots of soul and ear catching instruments with nice structure. He will definitely be a producer I will be keeping my eye on. While he leaves room for improvement, his soundscapes are ambitious. There are a few rough patches, but the duo is best served with the soul inflicted arrangements and B Bev's personal storytelling as displayed on standouts such as: the string filled "Chocolat", the piano filled "Help Me Now", the violin inducing "So Smoothe, So Cool", Bev's tale of lost love on "Now I Know", the flavored hooks on "Take Me Away", or the banging "Holla@YaBoy". My favorite song on the record is "Party People", which features nice lyrics from Bev, a hook dressed bass line, and an addictive female soul singer on the chorus.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the material found here. And with improved engineering/mastering, it probably would get a slightly higher rating. Both artists clearly have much love for the game, and I'll be interested to see how they evolve as artists.