Music has often been known to transport the listener to a different time and place. With No One Cares, DJ JS-1 manages to do just that, placing listeners on a train for a trip through New York in the early ’90s. It’s an enjoyable ride through gutters and sewers that keeps heads nodding throughout.
Like many DJs, JS-1 doesn’t come alone but unlike many contemporary “DJs,” he actually crafts instrumentals for guests to rock over. With the ’90s in New York City theme in place, each emcee does their best to live up to the scratches and heavy hitting drum patterns. “Reppin’ New York,” “Compositionz,” “No Fool” and “How We Think” prove that the formula works. Several guests appear including Joell Ortiz, Freddie Foxxx, Eternia, Lil Fame, and Sadat X, but rarely is JS-1 outshined. His production allows the scenery on this voyage to change but the train to stay the same with nostalgia inducing scratches and bangers like “Murder the DJ,” “Hold Ya Breath” and “Do My Thing.” Through the boasting of various guests, there are also moments of sincerity and depth, like the candor of Tonedeff’s “Last to Know” and the wisdom in O.C.’s “Life…Word,” a heartfelt tribute of sorts to the legendary Roc Raida.
Aside from these highlights, there are tracks that could have been avoided. With 22 songs, that’s bound to happen. Also, the abundance of artists proves to be a gift and a curse at times, causing some songs to feel longer than needed. Detractors may argue that the nostalgic ’90s era work is overdone, but in today’s market, many will find it to be a breath of fresh vintage air with a 2011 twist.
With No One Cares, DJ JS-1 shows that classic material can reach the forefront without bringing snapbacks back. Sadly, the album title may prove to be true. In 2011, perhaps few will care, but JS-1 and his guests prove that many more should.