A few months ago, our good friend, formerly J-Smoove, dropped his latest offering, the self-titled Memphis Jelks (available for purchase here), by way of SPITDigital Distribution. Now sporting a new moniker and backed by Public Enemy’s legendary Chuck D, Memphis Jelks continues to provide us with the positive brand of Hip Hop that his fan base (self included) expects and appreciates. From both a production and lyrical content standpoint, the album is both diverse and stellar.
Bangers such as the trap beat oriented eponymous intro track, where he fiercely asks on the hook, “what’s my name!?!?!” as well as the Chuck D assisted “Swamp Ball” (a rallying cry to his hometown Memphis Grizzlies) lace the record with high energy. “Son.Stacks.High (Righ In The Land Of Sun.Stax)”, another banger, sees Memphis continue to use his hometown as fodder for inspiring music, as he devotes part of the track to both paying homage to and exploring the unfortunate passing of Memphis basketball legend, and former NBA standout Lorenzen Wright, who tragically murdered back in 2010. That said, more smoothed out cuts like the acoustic heavy and introspective “HeavenOcopter” and the piano-driven and equally deep “Wake Up” (which features Jasmine Clark’s sultry vocals on the hook), sonically balance out the record nicely.
Proving his versatility as an artist, the slower tempo “Red.Rum.Mud.Eye” finds Memphis utilizing a style that’s akin to Midwest legends, Bone Thugs & Harmony, particularly on the hook. Along those same lines, from a content standpoint Memphis Jelks further emphasizes that he’s no one trick pony, eloquently and powerfully exploring relationship and loyalty issues on the album’s first single, “Happiness Is Love”. The following bars truly encapsulate how much Jelks is in tune with his inner-being. “When I’m alone, sometimes I’m in the zone, thinking of all the women I played, and the people I did wrong. Was it really worth it? To break a heart is to break a soul. Did they deserve it? Was my heart really that cold?” Simply put, Memphis Jelks is an intelligent artist who raps from the heart. We’ve previously lauded his music because it does not pull from current rap trends of money, hoes, and clothes motifs, and this album is no different. If you’re a fan of good music, music for the soul if you will, with a Hip Hop edge of course, then Memphis Jelks, both the emcee and the album, are right up your alley. Check out his video for “Happiness Is Love” / “What’s My Name” below.