Hip Hop Album Reviews (12/2016)

Tempo

TEMPO

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An album by JuQ

Review presented by Omnis

Listen to “Tempo” by JuQ

Any artist(s) interested in having a review done should check out the offers provided by The Write Reviews or contact The Write Reviews.


THE INTRO

When Brandis Knudsen (C.E.O. of Dakota South Records) first contacted me about getting a review done, I had no idea it would lead to The Write Reviews giving track by track breakdowns on three albums from the label. Tempo, the recently released album from Dakota South Recordz’ artist JuQ, is the first of these three albums to be reviewed. I made the decision to let Omnis, a new addition to The Write Reviews’ staff, show me what he can do by assigning him to review Tempo. Only one way to find out how the album fairs in the eyes of Omnis…
-Warren Peace


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THE ALBUM

1- Intro

The intro begins with JuQ speaking in his native language, which fits well to the concept of the album. The acapella speech that follows includes metaphors, similes, and an explanation of the topics that JuQ covers throughout the album. It reminds me of a poetry slam, but this particular piece didn’t focus as heavily on rhyming as it did on getting the point across, which leaves listeners with a better idea of who the author is and what the following content will be. It ends with an announcer in the background, the first noise you hear that isn’t JuQ’s voice, and as he calls for JuQ on stage, he ends his speech with “Shit, curtain’s opening”, and a round of applause echoes throughout an auditorium that reminds you of a school assembly.

2- Pupyluv

The first all-out song on the album starts with the howling of a dog, and then JuQ sings a melody in sync with the instrumental, which is something like a funky electronic groove that is fairly basic but accompanies the vocals rather well for this particular piece. The lyrical content matches the title of the song, and stays with the album concept relatively well. The hook is fairly catchy, as are the rest of the vocals, and JuQ provides some variety by switching to a rap-like flow as compared to his usual singing towards the end. Overall, I would have to say that the high points of this song are JuQ’s vocals, which sound good with an unconventional beat that would otherwise be rather bland.

3- Te Ata

The instrumental for the third track on Tempo is immediately more appealing than those previously on the album. It begins with another intro speech from JuQ, this time focusing more on rhymes and backed nicely by the beat. It then fades into a singing melody that would sound in place at a Native American ceremony, before JuQ begins singing in tune with the beat, providing listeners with some of the catchiest vocals on the album. The content of the song stays on topic with the rest of the album, and the hook is catchy enough to get listeners singing along before the song has finished its first play-through. The beat fades at the end of the song, and JuQ provides another short acapella for the outro, which helps coherently progress the story of the album.

4- ofm…

There’s not really a lot to say about this one. A short skit, maybe 15 seconds long, provides listeners with the sound of JuQ panting, audibly out of breath and trying to get a sentence out, before what sounds like him falling ends the track.

5- k.

This song starts out slow, with a progressing instrumental that reminds me heavily of something you might hear on a Reggae record. This track is also relatively short, with no hook, but contains pleasing melodies that make it worth the minute or so it takes to listen to this track.

6- Correction

Correction is another acapella track, this one longer than the others and with nothing besides the sound of JuQ’s poetry slam style rhyming to keep listeners interested. He does this well by enunciating every syllable audibly, emphasizing the lyrics appropriately, and changing the pace from a soft, slow, careful tip-toe to a fast, hard-hitting sprint, and back again. The lyrics get pretty personal on this one, provoking deeper thinking from the listener and focusing on the idea that “you’re all mistakes, and I’m the correction.”

7- July

This is another slow, laid back song, giving you a euphoric vibe, with JuQ’s vocals giving the song a mediocre feel as compared to the rest of the album. The hook is slightly catchy, but gets repetitive as the song progresses. The beat fades nicely at the end, and JuQ finishes the track by saying that “all this time, this song was about you.” Overall July is a decent addition to the album but not one of the songs that stick with you after the album is finished.

8- LUTA

LUTA is much more fast paced compared to the previous song, underlined with a harder hitting bass than is heard previously in the album. The verses are not as pleasing as some of the others on Tempo, but the hook is catchy enough to bring listeners back for another play-through. Some of the vocals are in JuQ’s native language, a reminder of the album concept. The beat has a bridge towards the end to allow JuQ’s speaking as compared to singing, before the song drops back into regular tempo and JuQ mixes his singing with an almost rap flow before closing off with the hook.

9- tp

This track starts slow, with a single drum and singing in JuQ’s native language making up most of the song. The music is still pleasing, though it ends halfway through the song and another acapella begins. This one is also personal, referencing things such as PTSD and Native American traditions. The acapella ends on a positive, humbling note, providing for a decent end to the main album, though it lacks the bang that would make this song a finale that listeners would truly remember.

10- Dalmation

The instrumental for Dalmation is a little bit more fast paced, and starts a bit more quickly than previous songs on the album. The vocals are pleasing and relatable, though slightly provocative. This is one of the better love songs on the album, with a catchy hook and lyrics that will leave listeners singing along well after the song has ended. Dalmation is a great intro to the three bonus tracks hidden at the end of the album.

11- CallingBull

CallingBull has a slow, soft start, with an intro from JuQ that references native beliefs and could give you goosebumps. The beat then picks up, uniquely combining an intense feel with laid back vibes. The verses contain more variation than some of the other songs on the album, and the hook combines words from JuQ’s native language and English, but shows that one of the things that JuQ can do is create a catchy hook. This is one of the better songs on the album, and is a great addition to the bonus tracks on the album.

12- A Stray…

The final track on Tempo starts slow, with a soft instrumental eventually accompanied by a higher pitched vocal melody, before JuQ begins one of the more humble and vocally pleasing songs on the album. Hook is slightly repetitive but very catchy and easy to learn, guaranteeing to have listeners singing along by the the first repeat. This is a much better end to the album as a whole.


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FEATURED TRACKS

Te Ata, Dalmation, CallingBull, and A Stray..


THE WRITE UP

JuQ’s Tempo is a very interesting album in that it almost creates its own genre of music, reminding me of something along the lines of Native American Reggae. It is presented to the listener as a short story, and if you follow the lyrics and message throughout it is just that. JuQ put some really personal touches in Tempo, speaking of events throughout his life that many would be uncomfortable sharing with all but the closest of friends and family. He almost always creates a catchy hook, which often accent his pleasing vocals and unique instrumentals. His Native American culture is adamant throughout the album, and is a great part of his unique personality as an artist.

There are a few issues with the album that I would like to address. A few of the songs on the album rely heavily on the hook to keep listeners interested, and occasionally the instrumentals did not contribute to the songs as well as they could have. JuQ could easily make every song a hit by combining his more pleasing verses with his catchy hooks and well-fitting instrumentals. Overall Tempo is an enjoyable concept album that does well at telling a story and keeping the listener interested.


STAR STATUS

⭐⭐⭐⭐

(4 out of 5 stars)

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