I just recently caught the Ann Arbor rapper at a show at the Blind Pig here in my (and his) hometown. With a lineup of other personal favorites such as Clear Soul Forces, 14KT, Magestik Legend, and Obie Iyoha, it was quite the show. There was even a set from the ever-elusive Black Opera crew. One of the best shows I’ve been to honestly, Jamall really knew how to rock the crowd. The rest of the acts held it down as well, from the raw energy of Clear Soul Forces all the way to the unique DJ stylings of 14KT. Even got the chance to meet the homie Apollo Brown. This lineup gave a taste of what the Detroit Hip-Hop scene and Mello Music Group has to offer, and boy was it impressive.
Later I found out that the show was the release party for Jamall Bufford’s most recent album, Victim of a Modern Age. Naturally, I had to check out the new project. What stuck out to me right away was the intensely intricate lyricism mixed throughout. His transitions between rhyme schemes are fluid, starting and ending trains of thought with rhymes that build upon each other. I’ve always been a big fan of lyricism like this, as its a staple in many of my favorite underground rappers’ arsenals. Jamall is a perfect representation of the classic thought that underground rappers tend to put more thought and complexity into their lyrics and subject matter.
The only thing that detracts from it are the shaky selection of beats. Some stand out from the others as really soulful and moving, such as “Travel Light”, and some also stand out as being trunk-knockers like “Silencers” and the title track “Victim of a Modern Age”. However, some of the other beats are the singular things that hold back songs on the album from being great. Tracks such as “Higher”, “Walk on Clouds”, and “Oh My God, Forever” are one dope beat away from being true classics. I actually heard him perform “Oh My God, Forever” at the show, and he really held it down. Goes to show you that some tracks sound much better live, when presented with the necessary energy and vibe.
Either way, Jamall is a class act, giving the Ann Arbor Hip-Hop scene a great direction as it moves forward. Reppin’ the deuce the right way. Go cop the album if you’re a fan of dope underground Hip-Hop.