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Album Review

Jean Grae begins The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP with the aptly titled "Hater's Anthem," proving that all the acclaim accorded to Attack of the Attacking Things did nothing to soften her. If anything, she's more hungry than before. In "My Crew," she delivers some her most devastating lines yet: "Rap's dead, rap sucks/Thanks to y'all for killin' it, grillin' it down, and spillin' its guts and fillin' it back up with trash." Whether you agree with her views or not, the talent is more than enough to keep you paying attention. Although the EP hosts an almost completely different crew of producers (including Babygrande A&R figure Ruddy Rock, Bravo, Block McCloud, and Will Tell), the gritty textures and soul samples are still in effect, suiting Grae's tough, agile, nothing-fancy flow. Ironically, the only weak spot is "Swing Blades," where she's joined by Cannibal Ox. Just as notable as the five tracks that make up the EP proper, a not-so-hidden hidden track features 45 minutes of freestyles and stray material (making the disc lengthier than Attack of the Attacking Things), including a bit where Grae raps over an instrumental of Jay-Z's "Excuse Me Miss." It works much better than it should.


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although she was born in South Africa, Jean Grae (real name Tsidi Ibrahim) will always be a New Yorker by heart. The daughter of two jazz musicians, Jean learned an appreciation for all genres of music at an early age. She attended the High School of Performing Arts as a vocal major and was later accepted to New York University as a Music Business major. Disenchanted by the classroom settings, Jean decided early on that she was more of a hands-on learner. During high school she learned to read and...
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