The records out of Detroit are showing rugged tendencies. The upfront violence are now battle declarations swinging from wooden chainz and kevlaar draped spiritual bars and socio commentaries. Beats can come wrapped in bronze sheets of Boom Bap Blues or as dark dairy water propelling the honored spirit of J Dilla. The knowledge versed from the street corner savior ciphers reaches wax in a cadre of perfected flow like life is an art and war is won in volleys of supreme flow. All a dynamic post-apocalyptic Motown Soul that smashes snare coffins and shows the world the Gods – the Grounds of Detroit soldiering the purest Hip Hop. Detroit is one of the most creative Black lands in the universe; we Gods even know it as D-Mecca. And its next great beat orchestrator is Jessiah.
The G.O.D. album, a 17 track blend of posse cuts, Jessiah, with an add on from Ant Live, another from Da Wizard and two from X the Detective, arguably displays one of the strongest beatmaker debuts this decade. The quality of his drum work, sequencing of bass drums in sync with perfect snares, kicks and high hats with the obsessive splashing of tough basslines for a military funk, The choicework of melodic hooks that are uniting vessels riding with MCs all chosen and arranged precisely, are all some of the many clues to the work on this album. Really listening, you could feel the frozen drives and crashed pcs that went into putting G.O.D. together. Defined by Jessiah as “wall to wall bangers” there are no skips but addictive repeating that will make it pleasantly difficult to finish.
The tracks are bound together by a thickness, using all the space available leaving only the slightest foxhole for the MC to soldier verses out of. They are signified by consistently powerful and well-built bass drums and dynamic crunch in his drumwork. The sampling is a primer not on deep, unknown crates but on the skill of crate usage. There are so many obsessive and disingenuous calls for pure Boom Bap leaving the term to describe a bland feeding of a rigid break with a minimalist melodic choice of generic derivation from the Primo, Pete Rock or RZA scrolls out of the Marley school. However, on G.O.D., like true Boom Bap, listening deeper draws out the best. From “Trenches” with its bass drum roll and baritone phrase, the slop funk bass siren of “Olympians,” the methodical beep and break with lady wooing on “Karate” or even the amazingly ill vinyl distortion on Gaye’s heavenly vocals for “Lifestyles of the Poor and Righteous,” there is no shortage of sonic ideas and experimentation. It continues through the blatantly unique blends as the bass drum stutter with the funk womp blurping letting Wisemen’s Bronze Nazareth and Phillie glide through “Win, Lose or Draw,” the overtly long snare on “Buck 50s” or even the menacing bassline and revisiting horn of triumphant persistence on “Blitzkrieg.” A definitive peak is the hyperactive drum work on “Cold Case Files” where the track has thudding drum snaps diving in unexpectedly over the a sharply cut 2-3 drum break.
Lyrically, Jessiah is a featured MC throughout and it will be an second skill listeners notice afterwards. “Night of the Living Dead” is a highlight verse and typically Jessiah leaves his intensity for the end of tracks letting his words bind the song themes nicely. Through G.O.D., the blessing that Jessiah has that is shared with us are his crop of featured MCs that are far from novices. The core is Sun Tzu Cadre, a rare breed of MCs this writer knows for their insights that raise men more so than their dynamic charismatic builds on the mic. The arrangements are necessary as “Karate” sparse beat with space is perfect for STC’s All Wise to fill with a dynamic pause “mmmm” to conclude “52 hand blocks crush your kundalini.” There is Scrooge McJus’ enlightenement in rolling flow on “Grounds of Detroit” and Dial G’s intense inflections on “Val Kyrie.” After this year’s early supreme debut, Welcome to the Detroit Zoo, Phillie continues to dominate every last verse with his sincere micro-social portrait (“Night of the Living Dead”) or the supremely stylish battle prose (“Apartheid”). Phillie globe trots all with inflections, pitch jumps and all types of fly dexterity vocals making “Olympians” a merging of liquid Phillie gold and sharp steel of Jessiah’s distinct bars. Another extreme highlight is Drugs tha Emcee, whom Phillie has noted as the most improved MC he has heard of in their cipher. On G.O.D. he rhymes with a kingly stature that punctuates with menace and applies a mid-tempo flow throughout any of the fluctuating waves Jessiah throws behind him.
These are a listing of the small notations that great producers use to capture MCs of extreme character. Looking broader, the core of the content of STC, including Jessiah, is the knowledge of self as the Nation of God and Earth shows and proves. It is a critical foundation in the content of all Hip Hop music and culture yet its worth can only be told by those that know. It isn’t in mere referencing of mathematics and degrees but the artistic presentation of its principles from arcane phrasing or direct application in verse. What G.O.D. does superbly is use the context of Detroit’s present, real-time audiography of oppression for catapulting a song by song urban military scorebook of retribution and enlightenment. As Jessiah builds on the end of “Blitzkrieg,” “What is the meaning of F.O.A. (Fruit of Allah)? This is the name given to the military training of men that belong to the Nation of Gods and Earths.” And so we hear the mandates throughout as in the choruses of “Heart of the City” and “Sharp Shootaz” or the anthemic verses on “Lifestyles of the Poor and Righteous” or “Val Kyrie.”
Ultimately what Jessiah scores and scribes, with STC, Wisemen, Desert Eez and the rest of the features additionally versing, are songs from a family tree. A tree from roots that I and rare others have gotten knowledge from. A tree that everyone ought to get shade from as it stands strong through the concrete of Detroit’s Joy Road.