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Album Review: Mr.J.Medeiros – Friends, Enemies, Apples, Apples (2009)

Album Review: Mr.J.Medeiros – Friends, Enemies, Apples, Apples (2009)

mr.j.medeiros friends enemies apples apples coverAlbum Review: Mr.J.Medeiros – Friends, Enemies, Apples, Apples (2009)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Potholes

The name Mr.J.Medeiros may be new to some, but he has been grinding away at the hip-hop scene for quite some time now. He first leaped onto the scene with his group, The Procussions, and quickly moved onto a solo career, with a fine debut in Of Gods And Girls. But with any debut, almost every artist shows some weak points. Teaming up with Stro the 89th Key on the boards once again, is Friends, Enemies, Apples, Apples the masterpiece, Of Gods And Girls was so close to becoming?

“My name is Mr.J.Medeiros, and I believe in the power of love.” The first words we hear from Medeiros on the opening track, “Children”, a statement so bold that one can’t help but take a moment to reflect on the true meaning. But does this proclamation make Medeiros soft? The answer is no. In fact, it deserves nothing but utmost praise, setting the pace for what might be one of the most innovative and introspective hip-hop albums to grace your ears in quite some time.

That innovation and introspection is drawn directly from Mr.J’s ability to pull himself from the current trends of hip-hop and mold intricate stories through his poetic rhyme schemes. Spanning moods of happiness, loneliness, darkness and hope, Medeiros has no trouble speaking his mind. The lead single, “Holding On”, featuring Tara Ellis, and quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs of the past few years, greets the audience with a message of great inspiration and encouragement. He continues his wonderful storytelling in “Left Me”, shifting the tides to a tragic sentiment, casting the mind on thoughts of death and emptiness.

But don’t get it twisted, this album isn’t just some book of poems, Medeiros does his fair share of fire-spitting as well. And he does so specifically on tracks like “Smile” and “Brutus”, allowing him to showcase his plethora of punchlines, speaking of evil, lies, deceit, and “sticking it to the man.” We then get to see Mr.J straight body a break beat on “Tarket Market”, serving as one giant social commentary, spanning the many wrongdoings of corporations and shady marketing ploys. Moving on though, we do run into a misstep here and there. Most notably the bass lathered, “Apples Apples”, which may float some boats, but just didn’t seem to work with Medeiros’ style in the big picture.

Before we conclude, we cannot go any further without noting the other elements that made this wonderful project come true. Stro the 89th Key truly graced this album with a beautiful sonic panorama. While stretching several different new elements and influences in his production, he continued to bless us with that signature sound that we have all come to know and love from Stro. You may have also noticed that with the exception of Tara Ellis, there were zero guest vocal features on Friends, Enemies, Apples, Apples. But that was the only other ingredient they needed, as Ms. Ellis patched together any possible gaps with her delicate, captivating voice.

Friends, Enemeis, Apples, Apples, is not only a tasteful album for the ages, but a true display of growth from Mr.J.Medeiros. He able to devise groundbreaking social commentary and he did it while crafting some infectious and enjoyable music that people of all shapes and sizes can enjoy and relate to. It’s rare to see a hip-hop artist in this day and age rise up to the occasion and speak for what he believes in. Hopefully more artists can take note and follow suit.

rating-four-and-half

5 Comments

  1. Daenomyte
    Aug 08, 2010 @ 15:21:03

    I actually migrated my way to this site from hearing Holding On last night and then updating myself on Mr J (which was a long time coming). The result was me sitting here at this computer practically head-rocking to an entire album. This album was so good, I think I got a little teary-eyed. How many songs have you heard, let alone albums, and got just…emotional? Mr J is a staple in this underground hip hop movement. Uncompromising, battle-tested, and verbaltastic, this man is the truth. I appreciate the path he chooses to walk in God’s Will… cause it gives us this phenomenal music.

    -Fan For Life

  2. BKbroke
    Feb 01, 2010 @ 16:43:38

    POP? this shit is raw as fuck dude is a wordsmith period. and from his tweets it seems he is still independent as fuck, POP? fuck no, shit is great! this album is his best work and sounds hella clean!

  3. Hamza21
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 19:42:54

    This album was wack. Of God And Grils and The Art of Broken Glass were way better. Mr. J went pop with this sh*t.

  4. Andrew Martin
    Nov 28, 2009 @ 18:26:35

    Alright, this is a dope album.

  5. Sirius
    Sep 27, 2009 @ 09:06:44

    I’ve yet to listen to the album, but I know J. can hold it down. There should be more emcees spreading the type of message that he does. The industry is so saturated with the concepts of party and bullsh**t, drugs and money, women and booze; it seems like all of a sudden everyone forgot about the social and political issues plaguing the very places where a lot of these cats came from. Such are the issues that should be more emphasized in rap music because that’s how it all started. Don’t get it twisted, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional party track, but nowadays it’s just too much, and it’s too negative. Mr. J’s and The Pro’s music was my detoxification from all the negativity that poisons my ears and mind on the daily basis.

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