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This Week

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Album Review

This Roots associate's second album, following 2003's The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP, is a loose concept record about a week in her life. The ups, the downs, the come-ons, the threats, the observations, the actions — it's all in there, it all fits together, and it all transpires without the MC having to cram an inhuman amount syllables into one breath (as she has before). Jean Grae continues to improve in every respect, but the negative aspect is that too many of the beats bleed into one another. None are certifiably lifeless. But, when strung together, they add up to an album that numbs the mind around the second half. In one respect, it's a blessing in disguise — you often have to recall the words, not the sounds that support them, in order to distinguish one track from another. Given the range of emotions and subjects Grae covers so well, that's not so hard to do, and in turn that shortcoming makes you appreciate her all the more. Lyrically, she isn't quite as ill-tempered as she has been in the past, though her takedowns — when they do come — are more vicious than ever. Try "Whatever"'s "Verbally hang thee with these third-degree burns/Upon your fannies/And your balls ripped off/Course it's all talk/I'll lick off the potshots and cut your d*ck off/And sell it like it's porn to the pawn shop/I try to stop the bad things but they stay on top." A promising thing is that Jeanius — an excellent album written and recorded in five days, manned entirely by 9th Wonder (producer of Murs' Murs 3:16, Jay-Z's "Threat," and one of This Week's highlights) — sidesteps the issue at play on this album and is promised to be released soon. Leaked well before This Week saw the light of day and already catching attention, it stands a chance of gaining the MC the level of respect she deserves.


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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This Week, Jean Grae
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