Presents the Emcee's Proper'ganda

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Among the unfavorable responses to his Ruff Ryder debut album, The Rest Is History, bickering fans, and frustration with his career, Jin announced his early retirement on the Internet-released song "I Quit." But like basketball legend Michael Jordan, the BET 106 & Park freestyle champion couldn't stay away from the game too long. Going the independent route with Presents the Emcee's Proper'ganda, Jin composes a body of sophisticated ideas, transcribing them into rhyme form and then tackling the issue of treating hip-hop as a form of art -- much like golden-age MC KRS-One, "the Teacher." Like the well-versed recounting of rap's history, "Top 5 (Dead or Alive)," the album contains the inevitable praises of and allusions to hip-hop's heyday. On "My First Time," he weaves together a metaphor about hip-hop -- in the same vein of Common's classic hip-hop tale "I Used to Love H.E.R." -- correlating the first time he wrote lyrics to losing virginity. Throughout the album, it is apparent that Jin has relinquished his usual jaw-dropping punch lines for straightforward, deft lyricism. Unfortunately, the straightforward approach lacks the panache and B-boy swagger to which fans have grown accustomed. Moreover, the album suffers because of the mediocre- to, sometimes, poor-quality production. Ironically, the worst beat, "G.O.L.D.E.N.," features raps about acquiring the hottest producers in order to make hit records. If this is done on purpose, the song fails to be easily seen as satire. The album is both impressive and contradictory. Despite the LP's admirable objective and the fact that it is more cohesive and in depth than The Rest Is History, lackluster results hold back Emcee's Proper'ganda. As an intelligent critique of hip-hop, it is top-notch, but as a rap music album, Jin is capable of better.

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