The son of a poet, and the grandson of a Grammy award winning jazz musician, songwriter and lyricist, Jae Focus, hails from a city Newsweek dubbed ‘Murdertown’ Wilmington, Delaware. Jae, who is also the CEO of G.O.D. INC. Music Collective, released his critically acclaimed debut Album in 2016, entitled “33.3” Thirty Three and A Third (Deluxe Edition) alongside the producer Doeboyy Muzik.
Jae, who has worked alongside hip hop legends like, Capone of CNN and Styles P of The LOX crew, also teaches at hip hop arts workshops and media literacy courses as the Program Director for ArtFusion, the Delaware based non-profit organization utilizing the ARTs for social change.
Like many of his fellow rappers, there’s a giddy pop star bubbling just beneath Jae Focus’ coarse exterior. But it’s not simply the built-in hit “Skyfall” that lifts “33.3” into mainstream territory. The harmony-imbued “Watching Me (ft Rico Tang & Songbird)” and “Solidified”, featuring Bmagic, are decidedly radio-ready, as is the slow-burner “Knockin’”.
But the album’s creative heights are found in the grittier tracks; “Monster’s Ball”, which features a refreshing amount of minimal instrumentation including sub-woofer bass and percussion, creating a menacing dark score that blends perfectly with Jae Focus’ gravelly flow.
The jagged rhymes and bloody content of tracks like “No Time (ft. Harm & Risk)” and “Higher” are juxtaposed by slick, synth-heavy production. Taking cues from modern hip-hop’s heavyweight producers, Doeboyy Muzik injects his beats with percolating electronic flourishes.
Jae has credibility when it comes to making epic-sounding hits and will get props for his gruff but effective sing-song flow and hooks, but he also has the qualities of a true battle emcee. To win a hip-hop war of words you’ve got to be able to shut down your opponent with better rhymes and punchlines than he’s got, and Jae Focus has got the firepower for the job.
Fans and foes alike both have to concede that much, by listening to the angst-driven, sweet and sour rhymes on “Zoned” (ft. Songbird) and “The God Hour” (ft. Cost).
Bottom line, this album is a roller coaster ride through and through. It contains a surprisingly solid production and a small amount of extremely competent featured artists who positively contribute to the album’s overall high quality.
Jae Focus proves himself to be a driven emcee with a significantly imposing tone and flow that is hard to ignore in any song. Furthermore Jae’s songwriting goes straight to the core of the matter, with each song feeling lyrically fleshed out – both in content and emotion.
Whether “33.3” Thirty Three and A Third (Deluxe Edition) is the beginning of the establishment of an artist that is getting ready to mark a new era in hop-hop, or if this album is merely a wake-up call to an industry on the verge of experiencing a collective shift – remains to be seen. Only fans will have the power to fully determine that fact.