Not usually the thought provoker, Jamaica Queens native 50 Cent provided the world with the gem, "Son go head and switch your style up, and if they hate then let ‘em hate and watch the money pile up." Jun Classic, another Jamaica Queens native, took these words to heart in creating his solo debut "2 Much Ain't Enuff." Jun Classic is a one of a kind underground artist. He produces all of his own music without using any samples or features, as the back cover of the CD advertises. All of the beats are made on his top secret "super keyboard." Unfortunately for Jun Classic, and the listener, the super keyboard sounds like it took a dousing in kryptonite. Because Jun Classic highlights the originality of his beats, the listener is almost required to evaluate the CD twice over; once for the unique beats and the second time for the overall lyricism and MC skills.
After the first three tracks of the album it appears readily apparent that Jun Classic is not the next in line for super producer/rappers like Kanye West or Timbaland. The beats quickly become tired and repetitive. The second and third tracks, "Life and Debt," and "The Chukkas," have indistinguishable drum patterns from one another. It was almost a minute and a half into "The Chukkas" before I realized that I was listening to a new song. The super keyboard does not lack creative sounds. It's just that Jun Classic lacks the creative ability to capitalize on his unique piece of equipment. Most of the tracks are accompanied by a dark and moody sound. The boom-boom-boom drum pattern becomes very stale and his lack of layered sounds is the downfall of the album. One would think that a man in possession of said "super keyboard" would come out with music that sounded nothing like any of the tracks created before it. However on "2 Much Ain't Enuff," that is not the case. Is it possible that Jun Classic's super keyboard is just a regular keyboard after all? In this day and age, who knows what to believe anymore. I feel used.
Lyrically, Jun Classic comes correct. He has a deep, booming voice, along the lines of Shyne or Guerilla Black, but does not possess the breath control and overall ability that either of those MCs have. When you're being called a poor man's Guerilla Black it might be time to find a new gimmick. "Come Home" is a joint dedicated to his nephew currently serving in the military in Iraq. As far as emotional tributes go, this one is pretty solid. The simple beat of what appears to be the same key being pressed over and over and over again almost kills it but an astute listener will find this track emotionally satisfying.
"Man loved me I loved him even harder
My heart got scarred on the day of his departure
Thinking he would leave today and come back tomorrow
But my plans got ruined and my dude became a martyr"
The rhyme scheme ain't exactly Biggie-worthy but he makes it work. Like most of the beats, the lyrics are, well, depressing. Almost a lamentation on how much life in the struggle sucks. Take "The Biz Part 1," a track on which he complains about, you guessed it, the grind of the music business.
"Dealing with the biz of this game is all hassle
Wait till you collapse something like Saddam's statue"
The major flaw of the lyrical side of the album is the hooks. Repeating the same line four times does not constitute a hook. The music industry cannot sell songs without a good hook. On "Life and Debt," the chorus repeats, "Came back home, now I gotta pay back loans," over and over again. Raw lyrical ability can only get you so far. He has the talent to be a pretty decent rapper, but right now his weaknesses, that being production and hooks, ruin the album. Ask anyone from L.A. Reid to Lyor Cohen, a great artist needs good production and good hooks to last today. That is why we see so many on-the-rise rappers shelling out $200K per beat. While Jun Classic makes it quite obvious that he does not create music to cater to the likes of Reid or Cohen, there is a reason these men are so successful. They know good music when they hear it, and right now Jun Classic is not making very good music.
"2 Much Ain't Enuff" should not be looked at by Jun Classic as a disappointment. Yes it is a disappointing album, but hip hop, like life, is a learning experience. Clearly he was trying to do too much too soon. He has the potential to become a pretty good MC. He needs to stick to what he's best at, and at this point that is his lyrics. With the right mix of sounds to highlight his strengths, Jun Classic could one day be coming to a radio station near you. Unfortunately for him, that day does not appear to be anytime soon.
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: September 25, 2007