J. Slim’s performance at Charged Up Ent’s Birthday Weekend back in August was one of the true highlights of the night. That performance lead me to check out his mixtape “Bury Me A 3,” released in November of 2013. J Slim does a lot of good things on “Bury Me A 3” all of which starts with his raw talent. J. Slim is a talented MC and is growing every time he hits the stage. He has the special ability to tell quality stories in his rhymes – like a Nas, or a Jadakiss, or a Joey BadA$$, he can take complex stories and convert them to transparent stories in rhyme form. His writing is not on the level of the aforementioned – not yet anyway – but he has tremendous talent.
There are a few things that I think hurt the overall quality of “Bury Me A 3”. And I’m only starting with these things so that I can finish my review with a positive tone because I really like the album, and the good completely outweighs the bad. The first thing I would have done is reduced the number of tracks. There are 26 tracks on “Bury Me A 3”, really 21 because there are 5 skits. I think this is a mistake made by a lot of up and coming, talented, hip hop artists. Just because you can rock over every beat doesn’t mean that you should rock over every beat. You should be very selective about the tracks that you put on your releases (mixtape included). Slim has 6 to 8 tracks (probably more) that I “really” like. He could have had a released a smaller number of songs — all of them fire — this would built even more momentum for his growing movement. It doesn’t matter if your Jay-Z, on a 21 track project, really good tracks will get lost in the playlist shuffle because there are just so many songs to listen to and break down. This happens a lot with hip hop projects and it applies to “Bury Me A 3” just too many tracks.
In addition to the number of songs – I would have changed some of the production selections. Some of the tracks Slim uses for the album have been used by some major MCs and the comparison hurts the end product of “Bury Me A 3”. For example, Slim’s track “For the People” is a dope song – he rhymes over a strong Heatmakerz track. But AZ killed that same track on the intro of his A.W.O.L album. He also spits hard over the classic – “classic” Pharcyde track “Runnin”. I have to downgrade those songs (and a few others) because, to me, it didn’t match AZ’s version or Pharcyde’s version, though they are both strong songs. I don’t think this rule applies to established artists – call it the Cheats double standard – Slaughter House could put a mixtape and rock over popular beats and I won’t have problem with it, I love a DJ Drama Ganstsa Grillz mixtape as much as the next guy but for up and coming artists, that is the only comparisons I can make and it normally doesn’t help the up and coming artist.
With that said, there are several tracks on “Bury Me A 3” that I really like. “Jordan 4” shows me what Slim is all about. Slim shines on the track because of his lyricism, content and flow. He does it again on “Who’s Gansta”. When Slim really goes in, he has a classic East Coast 90’s flow. And he recognizes that with shout outs on the album to Biggie and a reference to Nas in “Belly”. I would love to see him work with a few other RVA artists – go bar to bar – with Radio B, Chance Fischer, or Fair. I think all of their respective styles fit and they would push each other. On the song “Feel My Pain” Slim flips a mellow track and, with his rhymes, makes the song one of his most personal on the project. “Paper Chasin” and “Respect” seems like tracks that could make the leap to commercial radio (more so Paper Chasin). I think that is the next challenge for Slim – to elevate his next project to one that matches his live performance. But that challenge is what hip hop is all about. I think J. Slim is well on his way to making a lasting impression on the RVA hip hop scene. I look forward to his upcoming work and show.
I normally don’t score albums/mixtapes that were not released in 2014 but I have made an exception for “Bury Me A 3” I rate it: 3.8 out of 5 mics – Do you agree?
Let me know what you think of “Bury Me A 3” in the comments. #WESEEIT to submit: TheCheatsMovement@gmail.com