Goon Squad :: Welcome to Grimmyville, Part 2 :: {self distributed}
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Whether you call him Bump J or Bumpy Johnson, it don't matter. Either way he's rolling with the Goon Squad, and this Chicago collective is trying to ensure that Bump J is a big name and that his records do big thangs. To that end they've created and released a mixtape CD called "Welcome to Grimmyville, Part 2" chock full of songs that feature him. Whatever happened to "Part 1?" I don't know. That's like asking where did Leonard Parts 1 through 5 go. (Big up to The Roots) So without further adieux let's see what exactly Bumpy Johnson is up to.

This album features songs by other hip-hop artists, where Bump J has been squeezed into the instrumental as a form of "remix." To the Goon Squad's credit, they've done a professional job of putting it together - not like the hundred and one remixes you'll find on file-swapping programs that all "feature" 2Pac long after he was dead and buried. They ain't fooling nobody, and ain't nobody fooling me into thinking Petey Pablo took time out to hook Bump J up with a Goon Squad Remix of "Freak-A-Leak," but you can say this much - he chose the right songs to blend with and it doesn't sound choppy like a homemade remix would. Recorded at "The Tip" and mixed by Abe National & Carson y'all, just giving credit where it's due - much like J does on "Overnight Celebrity" by listing Cam'Ron, Twista and 50 Cent in the credits. There is a remix going around featuring Cam and 50 already, so Bump J just hopped on it:

"Yo this Bumpy Johnson, that shit they spittin is nonsense
If it's a remix, best believe the streets want me onnnn it
You can catch a plane first class, I mean if you fly
Get away and spend a day with me in the Chi
Get your hair done, toes tweaked, do your nails
Shop on Michigan Ave, Old Street, Bloomingdale's
I used to rush them fiends, cops come, flush them things
Now I must stay clean, custom things, cut from Custom Kings
Me and you both alike, I shoot and roll the dice
But now my dough is right, I could make you a celebrity overnight"

I wish I could give Bump J the benefit of the doubt and say this is a fly rap so I could take that airplane ticket, but it's really not. Vocally Bumpy sounds like Jermaine Dupri, and as anybody who has gotten annoyed by J.D.'s voice over a long period of time can tell you, that's not promising. In the cleverness department, Bump J can't be rated that highly either. It's hard to imagine that the streets want him onnnn every remix with punchlines that lacking and lyrics about females getting their hair and nails done. It's clear Bumpy is going after that "I'm a pimp" sound vocally and lyrically, but he doesn't even pull it off as well as fellow other Chicago natives like Twista and Do or Die.

There are also some original Bump J and Goon Squad songs here, a few of which are fairly well produced and musically enjoyable. "Run 4 Ya Life" is a good example - a little simplistic, but it's got a nice groove and well chosen chorus. Bump J continues to brag about having "4 or 5 deals on the table" but it's really pointless to talk that much shit when you're still pushing your own mixtape. Here's a tip to hungry MC's out there - when 50 Cent became the mixtape king, he could brag because he had already been signed to a major label, then THEY screwed up and dropped him. I bet seeing the millions he's made for Shady/Aftermath, Trackmasters and Columbia Records wish they could turn back the hands of time. It's hard to say if anybody is feeling that way about signing Bumpy Johnson yet with lines like, "All you gotta is put your dough up, be the back man/ I run through your projects like Pac-Man." Dude, WAY too simplistic.

Throughout the album, you'll find yourself enjoying more of the tracks for who the originators were than for Bump J or his Goon Squad rolling up on it. After all, songs like "Tipsy" by J-Kwon and "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" by Dr. Dre were already fly-ass cuts long before "Grimmyville Part 2" came along. At least you can't fault the Goon Squad for picking good songs: Joe's "Brown Sugar," G-Unit's self-titled "G-Unit," and Jay-Z's "What More Can I Say" where Johnson brashly says "We ripped a couple of niggaz' beats, so fuckin what?"

So what? Well indeed, so what. There's so much recycled music on here, it makes you say "so what" about the Goon Squad. True it's a mixtape tradition to rap over other people's beats, but the supporting material around it has to be strong enough and the featured lyricist hot enough to carry the balance of the rest. Some of these songs are so poorly mixed though you can't help but wince. Who EQ'd "Outlaws?" Bump J's introduction is okay, but once the Goons come in, their vocals are so far underneath the beats you would have to triple the volume to hear what the fuck they're saying. That's just sloppy. If you're trying to put your man over, don't come with weak shit like that. Suffice it to say Bumpy Johnson has taken after his New York mixtape brethern here - he's released a joint that shows a little promise but ultimately fails to deliver anything noteworthy.

Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 4 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4.5 of 10

Originally posted: July 27, 2004