Justwoz is a 17 year old music producer and rapper. He has been producing his own beats for around a year now, and started off just rapping but is now fully immersed in all aspects of his music. Justwoz lives on Long Island in New York in the town of Hempstead. He says he is planning on releasing a project every month during 2017 because he wants to witness his growth and be the best artist he can be. Freshly out of the oven comes his latest “Ideas From The Dungeon” – EP. Justwoz calls it an EP, probably due to its reduced length, but the recording actually has 11 tracks.
Defiantly, obstinately, vociferously independent, Justwoz operates in the unsigned borderlands of rap. Add to that list another bunch of adjectives, and you’ve got a study of an artist quite apart from the fashionistas who rule the mainstream hip-hop roost. I can safely say, that a large percentage of the rap that fills radio across the planet is devoid of a fraction of the skill this 17 year old has honed and put on display on “Ideas From The Dungeon”.
But hip hop isn’t just about skill, clever dissing, beefs, and grandstanding. It’s a complete art form, not just a technique. There is certainly a busy feel to this EP, and you’ll find yourself concentrating obsessively on the beats at times, which shouldn’t be the focal point but it is too.
Luckily those are also taken care of by Justwoz, which shows that he is an all-round talent. But to be honest the album (or EP) isn’t lacking in lyrical content, or in rhyme technique.
There’s something about Justwoz’s delivery that feels considered, workmanlike even. His sentence structures are familiar, and crystal clear to the ear. Though the album does see him as cussing and pointed in its heated moments.
You grasp, right from track one, that regardless of your state of mind, Justwoz will open that heavy heart of his and share every guilty thought and dirty corner with you, asking not that you applaud mechanically, but that you have the patience to listen and draw your own conclusions. It’s cerebral, visceral storytelling. How you feel about that is your prerogative.
On the evidence of “Ideas From The Dungeon”, Justwoz is spitting the kind of caustic, philosophical couplets which is laced with dense, allusive layers of meaning. Rugged and introspective, the rapping is tight, the beats are superb for the most part, and as a whole, the album stands out.
I can actually listen to the whole thing without skipping a track, and the overall flow is pretty seamless. The first 5 tracks in particular flow together like a hip hop symphony, from which my favorites are, “East vs West”, “My Life” and “Memories”. From there on, things continue on an emotionally-charged course that revisits many topics of loss, dissatisfaction and alienation.
It’s hard to ignore tracks like “Hotline” and “Backwoods and the Gas”, if only for the insistent repetitivety Justwoz infuses into the lyrics to drive home his message. Strangely enough, the best was left until last, maybe not purposefully, but “Mad World (Ft. 3rd Revolution)” and “Bigshot (Prod. August Henrickson)”, turned out to be the most enjoyable tracks on the entire recording for me.