Album Review: J Downs (All-Division)

In the world of hip-hop, rarely do you come across an album based solely on acoustics. You come across your Unplugged albums and live concert albums, but realized that those artists had released albums prior to the live concert ones. J Downs of San Diego has decided to break the mold and on All-Division he decides his best bet is to go live and instrumental.

All-Division is a good attempt at trying to experiment with the soft side of hip-hop and incorporate a band with a So Cal feeling. J Downs comes across as a faux version of Everlast, during his “Whitey Ford Sings the Blues” days.

The track, “Hit Em Off” pays homage to the cities of Providence, Cranston, Smithfield and Narragansett, which completely blew me away, seeing as though J Downs hails from the West Coast. The song is very relaxed with a number of guitar reverbs and smooth chemistry between J Downs and the band.

“Invalid”, a track that can be considered a legitimate rock song, confuses me with what kind of artist J Downs is. Experimentation with other genres is fine but, J Downs needs to realize that you if you’re going to diversify an album with track of other genres, they need to be justifiably good and memorable.

Rims and sunshine go hand and hand in the lifestyle of J Downs on “Any Day”. This track is a pathetic attempt on trying to fit the stereotypical dealings of a rapper by mentioning the desire to have: One-hundred dollar bills, Cristal and car keys.

“Can We Vibe” is the best track on the album because J Downs takes his chill attitude and arrogant and morphs both into a rapper’s delight. A song that I interrupted as rappers across the world getting together and having fun freestyling, J Downs has fun on this track by lacing it with a lyrical rhymefest.

All-Division is one of those albums that’s good to play as background music while doing homework, you know it playing but you’re not paying attention to it. J Downs just seems confused at what he’s trying to do. Is he a rocker or a rapper or Fred Durst? From the album cover, which is J Downs bent over with a look of thoughtfulness and aggression with Photoshop buildings in the backdrop, I’d say he’s a rapper. Overall, All-Division is an album with an ambitious approach at trying something different but the end result didn’t end so well.


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