Since founding the World Famous Beat Junkies, J.Rocc has stayed busy between collaborations with Madlib, the Taster’s Choice series, and rocking one of the best live DJ sets in the game, all without dropping a solo album. While the wait doesn’t compare to Percee P’s 28 years without an album, many an act have come and gone between the time J.Rocc and the Beat Junkies came up in the early ’90s to the release of his debut, Some Cold Rock Stuf.
The instrumental trip carries traces of Madlib, J Dilla and Gaslamp Killer deftly mixed with a West Coast vibe but with New York true school, Indian music, and jazz thrown in for good measure. Most hip-hop heads will recognize some of the classic breaks, including Les Baxter’s “Hogin’ Machine” on “Stay Fresh”. “Don’t Sell Your Dream (Tonight)” is decidedly Californian, a tropical guitar riff playing alongside drums reminiscent of the Smashing Pumpkins circa Adore as the tide comes in, broken only by a mini-guitar solo surely influenced by the late Parliament Funkadelic guitarist Eddie Hazel. “Take Me Away” is like an extended DJ Premier scratch chorus with Nas and Stones Throw labelmate Percee P providing the vocal samples. J.Rocc shows his international music chops and channels Beat Konducta in India for “Party”, which is precisely what J.Rocc does best: get the party moving, despite little variation during the song’s seven minutes of runtime. Conversely, the jazzy saxophone of “Malcolm Was Here (Part 1 + 2)” is interrupted halfway through, as Part 1 takes place in a classy New Orleans jazz club and Part 2 is half Compton, half Mars.
There is no central theme to Some Cold Rock Stuf, no agenda of any sort to establish a distinctive “J-Rocc sound” to build the album around. Instead, it’s J.Rocc experimenting with a few different sounds, from Gregorian chant in “Chasing the Sun” to ’70s funk in “Play This (Also)”. Some Cold Rock Stuf succeeds in embracing different sounds and cultures, presenting itself as eclectic without being scattered, a skill that sets DJs like J.Rocc apart from the herd.