Lgeez is the musical union of two formerly solo emcees into a brand new group dynamic. The featured artists are Alex Jones (f/k/a Dr. Flea) and Son of Sam, and their producer of choice on “Cloud 9” is JUVE (not to be confused withJuvenile). Other specific facts worth passing on – “Cloud 9” was recorded over the span of a week, but the results were carefully tweaked and crafted for nine months all with the intention of coming out “just in time for summer.”
“Just in time for summer” – are they smoking dope? IT IS FREEZING COLD OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW. It makes perfect sense once you realize Alex Jones and Son of Sam are from AUSTRALIA though. As I’m writing this it’s noon in Sydney and a comfortably warm 84 degrees. People always talk about what they’d do if they won the lottery – me I’d buy a winter home in Sydney. I already like the Aussie rap scene, Australian UFC fighters, and I wouldn’t object to a spread of Nutella on bread. Not sure I’ve acquired the taste for Vegemite yet, but if I was there 6 months of the year I’d give it a go. It would beat walking out the front door to get the mail and being hit with an arctic blast colder than Ice Cube.
Let’s put the bad Coors Light jokes aside and get back to “Cloud 9,” which sounds appropriately summertime for this seasonal Australian release. (Hey you, get off my cloud, and don’t block the sunshine neither.) One of the heavily promoted songs on this album may be a tough sell even for Australian tastebuds – “Lean & Aloe Vera” featuring Big Hustle, Hyjak and Sqz. The JUVE track is appropriately mellow and even has the slowed down vocal on the hook one associates with syrupy tracks, but most Yanks think of aloe vera as the thing you rub on your skin when it’s sunburnt. If you have an Asian food market nearby, get yourself a small bottle ($1.50 – $3) and give it a try. It’s not unpleasant – it’s fruity and sweet – and if you’re eating spicy food it actually has the same effect as the skin lotion when it comes to soothing the burn. There’s a definite medicinal vibe to these Lgeez – another of the featured tracks is aptly named “MDMA.”
“I ain’t just the best to bleed, I’m the best to breathe
Only peer livin next to me is Jesus” – Alex Jones
Oh wait – turns out MDMA means “Most Dangerous (e)Mcee Alive.” Jones might be overstating his case with that moniker, but his rapid fire flow over JUVE’s beat is definitely impressive. Remarkably neither of them are flowing as fast on “Speed of Sound,” which is where you’d expect it, though there are occasional bursts of words spurts. It’s a more atmospheric song though, with an uncredited choral singer floating over the dreamy landscape. U.S. culture finds its way into the album on tracks like “Froot Ninja” (sampling from “Green Lantern”) and “The Anthem” (sampling a Nas lyric from “Made You Look”) to good effect. It doesn’t make them less Australian – just in tune with the global reach of comic books and hip-hop.
Some songs caught me completely by surprise. “STD” has an old school throwback instrumental that reminds me of Whodini and actually makes the subject of sexually transmitted disease humorous and amusing. “Bleeding Drums” would be a fair description of the percussion on the track, a rare non-JUVE joint handled by Santino Hoodz. Unless you’re familiar with the Aussie scene you probably won’t know guests like Stormey Coleman on “Thousand Faces” and Big Hustle on “Get Your Name” – and let me not front because I’m not quite sure who they are either. None of them detract from the songs they’re on though or take any of the much deserved focus away from Sam and Jones, who work equally well on their own or when they combine forces. “Cloud 9” is definitely a summer album – it’s just a shame it’s not summer where I’m at.