Album of the Day: Jansport J, “Low”
By Jesse Fairfax · September 28, 2018 Merch for this release:

Producer Jansport J has worked with a wide range of rappers, from underground elites like Blu to mainstream titans like Snoop Dogg. Jansport releases at least one album per year, each one a hybrid of classic boom-bap and soul. A quick follow-up to winter 2017’s p h a r a o h, his ninth beat tape Low comfortably bridges the gap between ‘90s rap and oldies that record crate-diggers consider sacred.

Low is a concept album, on which the producer explores sleep as a way to take refuge from the modern world. Accordingly, the beats are fairly serene, looped into a hypnotic procession of repurposed tracks both familiar and obscure; over the course of 21 tracks (only a few of which exceed the two-minute mark), Jansport reimagines the work of black musical pioneers, mixing pieces of their original work into his own.

On “Smokewitchu,” for instance, Jansport quickens the tempo of a rather obvious Rick James classic, cutting up tiny snippets of the funk legend’s voice. “Nu” restructures a beloved Al Green tune by simply looping a sample of it, sporadically filtering out vocals to a lower volume. “G-Wiz” celebrates a number of influences, taking a dark bassline you’d hear during Dr. Dre’s seminal G-funk period and turning up the volume on less polished drums. Elsewhere, the smoothed-out “All” brings an extra knock to 1980s R&B. On this and other songs, Jansport skillfully manipulates the sound of yesteryear, using distortion and modulation to craft an opus all his own. In doing so, he further cements his own legacy while paying homage to like-minded creators before him.

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