Jim Jones

Harlem: Diary of a Summer

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While Jim Jones' 2004 debut, On My Way to Church, built a darkly surreal world befitting a man whose name and religious references recall a maniacal 1970s mass murderer, the Dipset member's second solo record, Harlem: Diary of a Summer, is a bit disarming in its hooky brightness. In fact, the title track ode to Jones' home neighborhood, with its breezy jazz hook and friendly spirit, is a positive beacon of light. Jones' voice, dripping as it always is with a feeling of impending doom, pairs in a wonderfully grotesque way with the buoyant beats behind him, whether he's boasting over a heavy bass ("Baby Girl"), eulogizing atop a classic old-school beat ("Tupac Joint"), or rapping about a mix of desire and betrayal in a unique sample of the Isley Brothers' "Between the Sheets" ("Summer with Miami").

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