Big Jess: Good Clean Fun 3 / Self Therapy Review
Since the release of Le System D, you’d like to think that the UP’s from Northeast MPLS have been resting on their laurels. If this double release from Big Jess is any signal to you, the answer to that is a resounding no, as Good Clean Fun 3 and Self Therapy go back to basics for the fans of the Prophets, and bring along a lot of personal reflection and wonderful local guests to the table.
Kicking things off with the staccato and bravado exhibited in “I Will Not Lose,” Jess rides the rhythm like a seasoned jockey, letting his rhymes be somewhat off the cuff and utilizing the words to reflect two different moods entirely. Good Clean Fun 3 bills it a little bit like a “…and friends” release, with folks chiming in like Mally and Muja Messiah trading bars on “Get It In,” to Abstract Pack alumnus Glo Pesci and Rastar rocking over the reggae tinged “Never Run”. Elsewhere on the album you have Jess rocking it over the saxophone ivories of “Make My Move,” whereas Mohs joins in with Jess over “Heart Knows”, and the harmonicas are delivered melodically on the song “Hands High.” The other half of UP’s, MaD SoN weaves tales of hardship and reflection on “Troubled Waters,” while the closer “Incredible” with Jellyfish serves as Good Clean Fun 3 & Self Therapy’s mission statement of making great and serious music while still reflecting upon the days of yore in the production.
Speaking of Self Therapy, things kick off with “Not About Y’all” which serves more as the reflection of Jess and Hip-Hop, where he touches how the music all circles back to him, regardless of all the other things that come along with balancing a family, a full time job, and making music. “Still Wanna Take It There” is one of the first songs that has sampled a quote from The Karate Kid, provides a backdrop with epic violins and help Jess describe the many hardships and what he’s done to fight and stand his ground with. Elsewhere, the bassy jam “Self Therapy” sounds like a b-side to your favorite Gang Starr 12″, and ivories are tickled while MaD SoN & Braille join in on “This Is My Callin'” sounds like something that could’ve easily served as an unpolished gem from World Premier. “Motivate” serves a similar structure to Atmosphere’s “Guarantees” where the bare guitar serves as the co-star with Jess’s self-reflective lyrics, and “Evil Woman” wit Sab The Artist aka Musab is a free-for-all, guitars traverse their way through the organs, serving as an almost M.O.P’ish ode to the shady woman. “Heard Them Say,” is a well woven tale, and “I Am Him” has an almost psychedelic rock feel, while the military sounding drums providing a backdrop about his own life, providing a well detailed biography, and the closer “Rollercoaster” is sinister to an extent, which display his emotions on full blast.
Again, you can assume that Big Jess has kind of rolled through life, and you can certainly see how these two albums reflect the man up close and personal. On one side, is a man who loves the music, and his friends who make it, and on the other is a man who unveils many things about his own personal life. Both sides are very well detailed and seek to serve more as a biography and a purpose. Big Jess definitely does a great job in making two succinct and well made projects, and you can consider both Good Clean Fun 3 and Self Therapy two more awesome projects in the Unknown Prophets discography.
Catch Big Jess tonight with Big Zach and many others as the two celebrate their latest releases at the Cabooze. Music is at 9 and tickets are $7.
Writer / co-founder