Review: J-Live – True School Revival

J-Live’s True School Revival was the precursor to the 2002 album All Of The Above. Old school rap meets new school rap with an original hip hop sound. New York based MC J-Live released this record as an appetizer to keep fans satisfied while they waited on the All Of The Above album to be completed. There is not a wack verse that can be heard on this recording. This is rap in its purest form.

School’s in session and J-Live is the teacher on School’s In. He educates his listeners about the fundamentals of rap. He also educates his listeners on the differences between metaphors and similes. Now the beat was not produced by DJ Premier as many of his fans would have you believe. The beat was produced by British producer Mark Ronson. The song has that old school 90s hip hop sound.

Welcome to the voice response registration system of True School University. You have added hip hop ethics to your courses. School’s in for those that don’t know. J-Live is the teacher for the hip hop ethics course at True School University.

In this song, 85 represents the 85% percent of people who are the ignorant masses preyed upon by the 10%. If you were expecting an album full of ignorance, you are sorely mistaken as this is album full of knowledge. So no songs about sex, drugs, and murder here. You can the reference to the 85% percent below.

I’m sorry if you’re 85 and you would have preferred a
Album full of ignorance
The place is an experience

J-Live urges emcees to make their audience listen carefully their lyrics and not metaphors. That is what these lyrics below mean.

To expose my flaws like salt in sores
Since they cannot be reformed I simply kill ’em by the fours
So in other words, nah man, skip the explanation
See that what the rewind’s for, so be patient
Cause this is the direction that my pen should be draggin’
To transform your dollar cabs into bandwagons

I need you to listen
My words are whet with crystal-clear wisdom so they glisten
And I fill in the blanks for all the answers that you’re missing
I’m rolling with the mongoose, cause snakes is steady hissing

The chorus uses similes and comparisons. For example a chef with a blade.

J-Live with the mic is like a chef with a blade
No doubt, man I cut ya like lumber
J-Live with the mic is like a chef with a blade
No doubt, man I cut ya like lumber

J-Live explains in Verse 2 how many emcees choose to present themselves as successful but their lyrics are wack as their lyrics lack substance, quality, and flow. Their subject matter is played and is considered to be nothing new. Emcees bite off of others rhymes. Many emcees choose to present themselves as successful by sporting a lot of jewelry. J-Live is a master of the next school came to teach the new school. You can see between the old school and the new school in the lyrics of Verse 2 also.

One-track-minded emcees think only pop’s cool. These “so-called” emcees use simple lyrics. Supply & demand rules have been replaced by A&R rules. J-Live is coming through with knowledge and wisdom to fill your head.

An education is what you make of it. You can use your education or waste it. That is what these lyrics to Verse 2 mean.

So principals and teachers abroad began to fear that
“If this guy makes an impact on the students that we play
They’ll end up having way too much control over their grades!”
See grades will equal status for power, so just like college
You’re so caught up in letter grades, you skip the ‘F’ing knowledge
See that’s how music knowledge switch from listener to maker
And that’s why music maker switch from listener to faker
So when the listener graduates to be an artist
You still enslaved by the principles because they’re heartless
First they make you imitate another man’s skill
Now you use your power for another man’s will
Move the crowd’s mental when they tell you sit still
Move the crowds pockets instead to get the bread
Yeah that’s what the students gather from what the principal said
They make you think the world bleeds green instead of read
But class is in session now so all that stuff is dead

As a teacher, J-Live tells his listeners to analyze the lyrics in Verse 3. Utilize your ears’ function as a garbage filter so your brain won’t get clogged and congested. By the time you get the facts straight and correct, they’re outnumbered in confusion. That is refining and refreshing.

The lyrics on Them That’s Not can be described as organic. His raw storytelling is vivid. Them That’s Not is about a brother named Castro who is going through financial problems. The lyrics on this song can be described as organic as this song has some of the dopest lyrics which are “God bless the child that can write his own rhyme”. This song is brilliant as J-Live shows us a whole different side of music.

Once upon a time There was this brother named Castro who had a little problem with his cash flow. He had a dream to clock mad dough. His dream seemed absurd to everyone else.

He went out to search for a record deal. Castro went to his boy who worked at a record label one month. Castro did whatever it took to make sure the radio played his music before anyone else’s. On the Billboard and last on the countdown. The producer created a beat with the right style and the DJ was on the radio playing his music all day. Castro gets in cool with the DJ despite being fake as a toupee. Castro rolls with ballers and thugs to make his image legit.

Now Castro is #1 on the Billboard Charts. The Billboard needs a full metal jacket now. Now who would have thought this bullshit song would have him seen? His name is in every video and every other magazine. Kids listen to every word he says like a fiend. Too bad they do’t They parents say he is too nasty for children.

However problems occur for Castro as the music industry is not so glamorous financially speaking. Artists/singers don’t always make millions off their first album. This is where recoupment comes into place. More money, more problems, right?

His account said Castro can’t get out of debt. He hasn’t earned any money. The same clubs and restaurants that kept Castro well fed are rejecting him.

People were getting tired of his song. The album drops and fans are getting hostile. Castro only had one song one his entire album that got the style right.

His boss who is his friend tells Castro they had to clear a sample on the loop of his song. His boss got paid for the video equipment. Money was spent on every other detail. Castro did not read the fine print in his contract. That is why he hasn’t earned any money. Now he has to find a way to pay the rent.

The moral to the song is that if it happened to him, it could happen to you!

Timeless is a “timeless classic” that was produced by DJ Premier but is not as choppy. The lyrics on this song can be described as organic.

DJ Premier killed the beat on The Best Part with his phenomenal production. You can’t go wrong with DJ Premier. The Best Part has some of the dopest lyrics which are “God bless the child that can write his own rhyme”. The Best Part is another classic of his.

I rate this EP 5/5*!

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