Release Date. 03/08/09
Catalogue Number. BD147
Juice Aleem, long-acknowledged as one of the finest MCs the UK has ever produced, has finally gone solo. The sometime New Flesh and Gamma frontman, who has also worked with Coldcut, Hextstatic, Evil 9 and Adam Freeland amongst many, many others, has decided that at last it's time to go for self.
'Jerusalaam Come' is the result - thirteen tracks of varied beats and broad musical influences, held together by Juice's unique lyrical style and mental dexterity. Largely produced by Gamma/Shadowless legend Blackitude, it's an album which is both as raw and as sophisticated as the minds who have made it. First single 'First Lesson' kicks things off, Juice showing rather than telling, when it comes to the failings of many of the MCs on the scene. 'Straight Out Of BC' is an electro-dub tribute to the second city, featuring Moorish Delta's Cipher Jewels. 'The Fallen (Gen. 15.13)' continues the dub and roots feeling with a complex lyric drawing links between Biblical proverbs and 'The Fallen' of our own society. 'Who Is He?' - produced by Tomz and featuring Blackitude - is a Gamma get-together, the lyrics skipping over the beat with complete control. 'Rock My Hologram', produced by Si Begg, is a dubstep-flavoured number, while on 'U4Mi' Juice addresses sex and relationships, using a sly humour sometimes overlooked in discussions of an MC who can deliver lyrics any way he likes.
'KunteKinTeTarDiss' is an attack on rap music and contemporary society, whilst 'Higher Higher' is a straight lyrics/battle tune, complete with tribal yells and a bell at the end of each round. 'You Shut The ____ Up' is a blistering put down to a younger generation of rhymers who make up what they lack in skill with pure front, with 'The Killer's Tears' a Wu-esque story-rhyme drawing on Juice's love of martial arts. 'Church of Rock' finds Juice testifying, not entirely seriously, to his own godhood, and the album finishes with 'Sang Real', an uplifting tribute to the internationalism in Juice's own bloodline and his worldview.
There's no pretence with Juice Aleem - the working title of this album was 'This Is Not For Everyone'. If you're not interested in lyrical intelligence, in hip hop, in MCs with something to say, in Blackitude's skank-funk, in ragged intellect, in ideas, in difference, in coming correct, then you may as well give it a miss. It's an over-used phrase, but in terms of what hip hop is supposed to be about, Juice Aleem is the real deal. If you prefer the fake deal, the trendy bullshit, constant novelty without substance, then turn off now.