by Petula Caesar
It is quite apropos that it has taken me weeks to write this piece, because it’s a review of the EP “Prelude2Procrastination”, a hip-hop/lyrical/musical 5 track offering presented by Black Root aka Jamaal Collier. Black Root is also one half of the group “Axiom” where he shares the microphone with vocalist Rahsaan “Wordslave” Eldridge. “P2P” gives the listener him as a solo artist. He was aptly assisted with the production by Wendel Patrick and with the music by Quinton aka “Santendrix” aka “Q” Randall.
As a hip hop artist, Black Root finds himself in an unusual position. Hip hop is considered the musical territory of the young. Though hip hop is well into its fourth decade of existence, currently there are not many examples of artists who enter into the mainstream of it successfully as full grown adults with work reflecting more mature mindsets and musical tastes. Hip hop’s continued growth will at some point need to include artists entering the game past the age of 25 who want to rap while embracing their maturity as a positive thing. That music is going to sound different that the music produced by the younger rapper. It is a mistake in my opinion for the older hip hop artist to put his/her energies toward a forced, modern or “youthful” sound, because there really is an audience for other music. Black Root’s sound and vocal stylings are those of the seasoned and experienced artist, and I am very pleased to see him embracing it in “P2P”.
Wendel Patrick was a perfect partner for “…Procrastination”. I am hard pressed to think of an area producer who could have more successfully helped to create a project that, while built very firmly on a hip hop boom-bap foundation still doesn’t sound extremely dated or overly old-school, and maintains a very high level of musicality. The spoken word elements of Black Root’s skills set are still very present, and there is real music as well. Q’s music is full of energy and movement, particularly on “Rock 2 It”, which is the best example of Patrick, Root, and Q’s talents coming together. “Rock 2 It” is a fun party anthem track you can listen to over and over again. It is well-constructed lyrically with great lines as well with an infectious hook that you can’t help but sing along with.
“P2P” also offers “My Mom’s Hands”, a clever reworking of the Bill Withers classic “Grandma’s Hands”, “PG Representative”, another energy-infused joint, “Prelude 2 Procrastination”, a funny rambling interlude about – what else? – procrastination, and “I Be”, an acapella introduction that basically gives Root the chance to stretch his lyrical muscles and show off.
All in all, I enjoyed “P2P’ tremendously. It was good to hear new material from Black Root, and he seems to have added layers of polish and development to his raw talent. The energy in the tracks really makes you want to see a live performance of the material, and I hope he will be fleshing out a full-length show soon – and I hope he won’t procrastinate about getting it done.
The project is available on Black Root’s Bandcamp page, and you can check it out by clicking here. Also check out the video to “Rock 2 It” below: