Jeremiah Jae / L'Orange

Complicate Your Life with Violence

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Four years after their first collaboration, The Night Took Us In Like Family, enigmatic beatmaker L'Orange and left-field rhymer Jeremiah Jae teamed up again for another set of tense, thrilling tales about violence and vengeance. The duo conjure up a dark, twisted world where the past clashes with the future, and ruthless combat is necessary for survival. It's enough to drive anyone mad, but the constant struggle is life-affirming, and the album creatively illustrates this vicious cycle. While L'Orange was initially known for his extensive sampling of scratchy old jazz 78s and vintage radio broadcasts, his palette has expanded to incorporate twangy country guitars, blues riffs, funkier bass lines, and even faint traces of exotica. His sample choppery has only grown denser and more complex, and the tracks are loaded with hairpin turns, sudden shifts in fidelity, and well-timed snatches of dialogue from old Westerns and crime flicks. Jae masterfully navigates through all of this chaos, delivering confident bars that flip the meaning of the term "battle rap." "Say It All" is a righteous declaration of black perseverance, and "My Everything Is Bulletproof" wryly interpolates "It's All About the Benjamins" while detailing a combat scene. On "Clay Pigeons," Jae and Billy Woods question the purpose of war, and what it really accomplishes, asking "Again, who's the animal?" Chester Watson's guest verse on "Cool Hand" rallies against racist cops, and the twisted bump of "Borrowed Brass" is primarily given over to stream-of-consciousness thoughts from Zeroh and Lojii. While Jae sounds relatively calm and collected on the mic, barely raising his voice throughout, L'Orange's production is more unhinged, gradually depicting war taking its toll on a soldier's sanity. Final songs "Ghost Town" and "The Light" deliver the obvious yet brutal message that war is a game with no winners.

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