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Duluth hip-hop performer James G (aka James Geisler) has been at it with DIY recordings and shows for a few years now. To get the feel for how much material he’s put out, simply check out his Soundcloud page. His latest album titled “Get Out” will be released Friday, November 17.
The new album is fairly minimalistic and laid back as far as the beats and lyric delivery go. This is an album that follows simple effectiveness over tons of overproduced studio tricks and guest rappers. While the album as a whole has a rather humble approach, it’s really the smooth and intimate verses rapped by James G that stand out.
The album starts out with the track “I Guess I’m Growing Up.” If you like your rap with a lot of attitude and ego, then this might fall short for you. James G goes straight into some meaningful personal reflection. “It’s tough, but I can focus on the human condition, try to spend my time focused on how I am living, nothing’s forgiven, time ain’t a given,” goes the last line of the song. James G goes back and forth between singing and rapping in a lot of the songs. The backing beat and instruments are very cut down to just a modest synth piano playing a simple melody, some synth strings, and some drum and bass.
The use of piano and synth sounds continue with the track “Autopilot.” This is probably one of the most chill hip-hop albums I’ve heard in awhile. The tempos are often slow, and allow the lyrics to drive the songs themselves.
If there’s one song I really didn’t care for on the album, it’s “Bounce and Sway.” It just gets pretty repetitive with the line “Bounce and Sway” over and over again. It’s kind of the way I feel about the Snoop Dogg song “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” I wouldn’t be surprised if some people find this to be the best song on the album, but I started just skipping over it while listening through these tracks.
I guess since I went and said the song I liked the least, I should at least mention my favorite track off the album. That would be the track “Go Outside.” I’m not sure how one makes a meek club track, but this somehow fits that description. Instrumentally this album really relies on just simple and calm synth parts which highlight the lyrical content. For the most part, the lyrics are honest and meaningful. “Get Out” really isn’t about trying to prove anything, it rather stays calm and confident with smooth lyrical style delivered for the sake of being true over something contrived.