With the possible exception of Hi-Tek [click to read], no other producer in Hip Hop can claim a resume as diverse as Jake One‘s [click to read]. With clients ranging from 50 Cent [click to read] to De La Soul to the Boom Bap Project, the Seattle native has been a mainstay on major label and indie albums alike since early this decade. For the first time, Jake is gathering all his friends in one place for his debut album White Van Music on indie powerhouse Rhymesayers.
White Van Music pretty much covers each sub-genre in every major region; Young Buck, Little Brother, M.O.P., Freeway, Busta Rhymes, Posdenous, Prodigy, Royce Da 5’9, Black Milk, Bishop Lamont, Evidence, Casual, Keak Da Sneak, Slug, Brother Ali, MF DOOM, and Blueprint are all along for the ride. Jake even keeps it really real for the folks back home and includes Vitamin D, C Note, Ish, Maine, D. Black and J-Pride.
The always rambunctious M.O.P. kick things off with “Gangsta Boy,” a track originally recorded for their G-Unit album. History now shows that the shelved 2006 album would have had one ridiculous track. Continuing the trend of tracks meant for other albums, “The Truth” [click to listen] featuring Brother Ali [click to read] and Freeway [click to read] was meant for Free At Last [click to read]. After Jay and Kanye couldn’t appear and Free let it go, Nas, Young Buck, Elzhi and Trae all recorded to it and never used it either. Fortunately, we’ve got the well traveled track her to make us wonder why anyone let this joint pass through their hands. Freeway pops up again for the adrenaline-filled “How We Ride,” displaying his usual dexterity over Jake‘s keys.
“Trap Door” featuring the recently MIA MF DOOM is undoubtedly the gem of the LP. The masked man rocks Jake‘s quirky guitar licks in a way that he only he could. “No curse words, DOOM the worst church nerd verse heard/appear blurred to a million true believers/here’s the supervillain arm dealer to the divas.” The supervillain pops up again to “Get’Er Done” and it’s more of his zany, multisyllabic non-sequiturs. It’s no “Trap Door,” but it does indeed get’er done. Current and former Aftermath artists Busta Rhymes and Bishop Lamont hook up for the bangin “Kissing The Curb.” They fare better than Young Buck, who’s “Dead Wrong” is kinda cool but ultimately gets dull. There are a few other moments that don’t stack up either, respective Detroit beasts Royce and Elzhi miss the mark with “Glow.” Though it was ultimately Jake‘s lackluster beat that did them in. D. Black‘s creationist raps on “God Like” will have you reaching for the skip button after a few listens as well.
Other than a few songs that aren’t on par with the rest and the interludes that clog up the lanes, there is nothing to complain about here. Blueprint‘s storytelling is ridiculous on “Scared,” Casual sounds like his old self on “Feelin’ My Shit,” and even I-just-gargled-gravel Keak Da Sneak sounds great on “Soil Raps.” White Van Music hits on all cylinders, and all those who didn’t know who Jake One is surely will after this. More importantly, he’ll have no problem luring people into his van with these treats.