Juga-Naut - BEM (Review)
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
The album was released on 25th February 2020 to coincide with Juga-Nauts 30th Birthday, the artwork was done by himself and is composed of 12 images of him throughout his 30 years, spliced together, representing the 12 tracks on the project.
Album Features include: Nottz native Liam Bailey, Tyler Daley (Children of Zeus), long time collaborator Tommy Nova, 1/3 of Hip Hop supergroup VVV - Vandal Savage, Taja, Oliver Rees and Jugz pops - Stickman.
The album kicks off with the "Stickmans Intro" which is performed by Stickman (Jugz dad) "This is my son, our son, everybody's son, born from a rich ancestory of dignity, integrity, intelligence". The track goes on to list multiple interpretations of "Bem" (Black Excelling Music/Born Eternal Mercy/Be Eminent) over a jazzy loop and tight as fuck drum riff, performed by Stickman.
Sticksman proceeds to confidently describesl Jugz' artistry and talent as perhaps only a proud father can, with love and pride, for what his son has achieved and what he assures us he will go on to achieve.
Next up is "Sorrel & Ginger" which opens with a vocal sample gradually fading into a rolling piano loop and neck snapping drums which are reminiscent of mid 90's Mobb Deep track.
Jugz spits effortlessly, with a laid back flow "Connect the dots, I'm in Nottz like Brian Clough, I look Hawaiian on the Lion while you sigh and huff, your albums fluff, you sniff talcum powder in the pub, I'm tryna get a thousand to be in the club" while dropping knowledge in the next breath "They told the people that the streets were paved, they rode the waves, now they're slaves to a meager wage, Britains colonial ways, what was written's whitewashed and what remains still divides the place".
"I was conceived by a poet, i was born of art" Is the picture perfect description for Jugz, music and the arts is in his DNA & it practically pours out him.
"Been Away" features fellow Nottz native, Liam Bailey who opens the track over a slow violin loop to preach "I see you young brother, keep fighting for your future young brother" before dropping soulfully over Jugz trademark neck snapping, head nodding production, this time featuring a Michelin standard chopped key sample, with a sprinkling of strings. Back to back these two sound amazing together, hopefully there's more in the pipeline from these two
"Nottz city veteran's, big man moves, 10 plus years on the grind for the truth"
Shifting momentum is "Woodgrain" as the album now begins to pick up the pace over an 80's soul sample. I dare anyone to not start bobbing their head to this one. You can really tell Jugz is having fun with this, as he says- each verse has him reminiscing.
Tommy Nova is up next with guest duties on "Satin Scultures". The beat is a laid back chunk of synth and funk which conjures up images of Jugz and Nova chilling at a beach side bar, dropping pearls. This is quite possibly my fav' collab from "JugaNova" so far.
"Worthy" is a Stu Bangas production which features Children of Zeus' Tyler Daley on both bars and hook. A stomping drum pattern sits atop another funk heavy bassline.
"I'm always shrugging and complaining 'bout the timing, i found a diamond, strong foundation, my silver lining"
"Jackson Pollock" is a favourite of mine, a rolling piano with scattering hi hats and system shaking bass. Jugz paints pictures here, he sounds reinvigorated and means business as he picks up the pace once again - "They keep sleepin' on me but they keep speakin' on me, there's no secret, hardwork no leechin' on me, i put the big golden eagle and the jesus on me, four seasons, four wardrobes - feature money, I'm the creature from the black lagoon, all these creatures tryna take black features and retract the truth, fake lips and a big fake smile, you can still be a racist with a mixed race child, small minds in this great Britain"
"One Tonne" is another Stu Bangas production with a heavy synth bass over a deep in the mix vocal sample. "Slanging CDs and tapes like the late 80's, I'm tryna do it til my late 80's" Jugz raps with conviction.
"The Plate" see Jugz and Vandal Savage go back to back over a heavy brass sample, sparse drums peppered with guitar strums and electronic keys. The rhymes roll effortlessly from their tongues, their chemistry is second to none as they compliment each others style and bounce off one another.
One of the standout tracks here. "Bone Marrow" see's Jugz flip the well known Syl Johnson sample in homage to the Wu, vibing like like the true master craftsman he has become.
"Nottz city veteran, my mixtapes kill, at 16 for real, for rap, a hundred pound was a hundred mil"
"Yellow Glow" features Taja & Oliver Rees over a sped up vocal sample. The guests do their thing showing hunger and passion as Jugz starts things start to wind down "Stop and take a breath, see the pain, the stress"
"Baldwins Outro" A nice vocal sample is the way to round off this remarkable album and tie it all together over light piano loop and heavy drums.
With each release, Jugz further solidifies his status as not only one of the best current artists but also one who is here to stay.
His passion and hunger for Hip Hop is unrivalled, he's a true talent and such a great guy as well. Big up Jugz Nottz in the building.
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