JC and The Catfish are set to release a seven-track album later this summer, Dom Kureen gives his take on the hip-hop duo’s latest exploits.
Rarely does a pre-release appear in my email inbox with the sort of anticipation that surrounded ‘Diamond In The Rough’, a seven track LP written and produced by Jason Cox (JC) and Jon Clucas (Catfish Jon) respectively.
A combination of societally scathing rhetoric and unrelenting percussion, the album gets underway via the agile exploits of its ethical quandary fuelled title track.
Focusing on the battle between authenticity and perceived necessity, there is a flavour of early Silibil ‘n’ Brains here, as JC’s heartfelt, seductively crafted lyrical attack on widespread subliminal psyche numbing serves to expose and address an often overlooked political device, whilst ostensibly unburdening the performer from his own demons.
Those concepts are further explored during the next trio of tracks, culminating with the album’s most poignant, stirring cut ‘If I Should Die,’ which hints at underlying religion and recreational drug related reminiscence.
Following such a storming embarkation, there are a couple of let downs: ‘Vitamin D’, an ode to an often logistically bound nature versus nurture impasse, focuses on the coming together of a segregated species, poking indecisively at the subject without threatening resolution.
Likewise, ‘Liar’, struggles from the blocks, initially retracing ground by now well worn, although it does ultimately evolve into a decent eulogy for a planet teetering beneath the weight of the excessive apex caused by such ill-conceived hierarchy.
Concluding in a blaze of glory, the duo’s re-imagining of Bob Marley’s legendary ‘Redemption Song’ allows listeners a traipse through JC’s psyche, as he possibly seeks his own redemption from a haunted inner optical.
A risky addition due to the original’s continued relevance , the cover is arguably the zenith of a potent, well thought out album and guarantees a satisfying denouement to proceedings.
Despite a brief lapse in vigour, five and a half good to excellent tracks make this thought provoking LP essential listening for fans of spoken word, rap and/or hip-hop