J-Zone

Pimps Don't Pay Taxes

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Despite the generous 70 minutes of music spread over his pair of earlier EPs, Pimps Don't Pay Taxes is really "Captain Backslap," J-Zone's official debut full-length, and, without mincing words, it's a horny, hilarious masterstroke, an instantaneous smack-talking classic that picks right up where its brilliant predecessor left off. To be exact, it cherry-picks "190" and "No Consequences" from Presents a Bottle of Whup Ass, then surrounds those songs with 20 other cuts or skits of unadulterated, crackpot genius. If you want technical accuracy, the album is actually billed as an "Old Maid Billionaires" presentation, and between them, J-Zone's sidekicks in rhyme Al-Shid and Huggy Bear do, in fact, show up on fully half the long-playing tracks, both MCs at the very tops of their games throughout. J-Zone, though, is still very much the obvious brainchild and puppet master behind this beast, not only in a musical sense but in a conceptual one as well. There is no coherent narrative to the album, per se, yet Pimps nevertheless ebbs and flows and ultimately holds together like, yes, a concept album. The themes? Sex (or just as often the lack thereof), money, sex, fame, and sex, not necessarily in that order. Contra the commercial rap pack, of course, it is played as parody and put-on. It could hardly be anything otherwise when Huggy Bear is forced to magnanimously consent to playing the unenviable roll of "Thug Penis" on the bit of evil genius that is "The Trojan War," wherein the reproductive organ in question, engorged -- uh, make that enraged -- by increasing instances of prophylactic-free sex, battles things out lyrically with its irresponsible owner, played by J-Zone. We're talking very high concept hip-hop here, folks. Then there is the deep moralistic philosophizing ("If there's grass on the field, you can play ball?") of "Old Maid Legal Aid" and "Jailbait Jennifer," or the vengeful continuation saga "Ms. Platonic Part 2," the most engrossing tale-of-a-trick since a groupie named Jane hawked EPMD, except in reverse, and a dozen equally great highlights, all laid out over flawlessly produced tracks. Pimps Don't Pay Taxes is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining albums of the year, rap or otherwise.

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