Vicariously Through Memories
This is the debut album of original tunes from J. Manifesto, following on from his eponymous mixtape – it’s an easy-to-sit-down-with album of nostalgic stories and summer-chill beats, reminiscent of the feel across albums by Q-Tip’s Kamaal The Abstract alter ego and Lyrics Born.
Opener, Carry On, features smoky, wafting saxophone to take us to the tune’s eventual fade, before that Manifesto’s smooth flow is warm and inviting. And this continues across Last Day of Summer and Take Over The World which features J. Monopoly and nice, clipped production from Weirddough.
There are a couple of superfluous skits and longer tracks meaning the album’s 53-minute running time is sometimes a struggle, a slight crawl, but the best material here instantly comes alive – The Greatest Bodegas In The World Are In Harlem, the acid-jazz throwback that is Speed Off, the super laidback NV – and there are nice jazzy touches (Finesse Wit Wifey) around ballads (My T-Shirt) and the Dilla-inspired coolness of Landscape.
So, plenty to like here, to chop up and take away and play in whatever order too – rather than sitting through all 14 tracks in order each time. That said, take a couple out (the annoying La Bodega skit, the ultimately-go-nowhere Dream) and you have a pretty cool slick-groove album. And Manifesto has charm and not too much smarm.
Closer, Life Life and Love It reminds me of some of David Dallas’ work.
This album was a nice surprise. Took me back to some of the hip-hop from a decade or so ago that kept me happy, that was always worth hearing and in fact still is. Now I’m off to find my Lyrics Born albums…