May 08, 2001

Album Review

While J. Rawls may be better known for his contributions to Mos Def and Talib Kewli's Black Star project, he is also the beatmaking half of the underground Cincinnati duo Lone Catalysts (which also includes lyricist J. Sands).
With his jazzy mood music in tow, J. Rawls stepped out with his first solo project, The Essence of J. Rawls. This compilation is an underground gathering of like souls, which includes J-Live's storytelling expertise on "Great Live Caper," the African terminology of Unspoken Heard's Asheru on "Nommo," J. Sands and Grap Luva's "Check the Clock," and Rawls' whimsical solo cut "They Can't See Me." While Rawls' laid-back compositions (with their piano samples and minimalist guitar riffs) are both provocative and passionate, pretentious hip-hop fans seem likely to overlook his keen musical sensibility, largely because it is neither abrasive nor mind-altering.
Matt Conaway, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. What You Want Is?
  2. Superhero
  3. Birds of a Feather
  4. Elegy (In 3 Pts.)
  5. Great Live Caper
  6. Meniscus
  7. Blue # 2
  8. Cold Turkey
  9. Far Away
  10. Lone Catalysts [Remix]
  11. Check the Clock
  12. Nommo
  13. They Can't See Me
  14. Blue #2 (Reprise)
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