October 25, 2021

Jean Grae - Jeanius (2008)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: BLH2-29585
.FLAC via Florenfile
.AAC 256 kbps via Florenfile

© 2008 Blacksmith Music
Jeanius Review by Andre Barnes
On April 26, 2008, rapper Jean Grae took to her MySpace blog to announce her retirement. She reconsidered shortly thereafter, citing her desire to win a Grammy Award as motivation to continue with her career. While Jeanius, Grae's collaborative effort with revered producer 9th Wonder, never won a Grammy, the album proves itself a worthy contender, keeping Jean's ambitious career goal at arm's reach. Originally scheduled to make its retail debut in 2004, Jeanius leaked prematurely, spawning a wave of pirated versions of the unfinished project. Four years and a record deal later, the album was finally released July 8, 2008 via Talib Kweli's Blacksmith imprint. For an album that had already been around four years, enduring anticipation was met with slight disappointment because of the official release's lack of new material -- the only new incentives for a purchased copy were the cleaner, remastered songs and the four limited-edition album covers, which are spinoffs of classic hip-hop albums (Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Black Sheep's A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, and Das EFX's Dead Serious). Nonetheless, the album is a definitive body of work for both 9th Wonder and Jean Grae -- Grae's wit and peculiar charisma are paired with 9th's soulful, sample-heavy production. Grae's impeccable flow embeds itself succinctly into the heart-thumping beat of "#8," as she delivers an onslaught of braggadocio raps in tightly packed rhyme schemes for roughly two minutes with no hook. While Grae tends to keep her sexual anecdotes to a minimum, "Love Thirst" is the album's generic seductive track. The most penetrating moment of Jeanius occurs when Grae expresses remorse for an experience with abortion on the mellifluous "My Story," which connects to listeners on a very intimate level. "There's nothing like knowin' yourself...Like the way I know my flow don't make appropriate wealth/I can't change that/But funny I'm sayin' that when it's money I'm aimed at," Grae admits over the dense piano keys and smacking drums of "Don't Rush Me." While Jeanius may not have propelled Jean Grae's career the way she would have liked, it certainly reaffirms her prowess as one of the very few robust "femcees" left and proves her decision to delay retirement a prudent one.

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tags: jean grae, jeanius, 2008, flac,