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With a namesake of a rat with wings, you have to assume that Pigeon John is not bringing your average perspective to hip-hop.
The LA Symphony associate has graduated from ‘clueless’ on his last album, to ‘dating your sister’ on this one. Pigeon John may have just gained the dubious distinction of being labeled one of hip-hop’s primary “emo-rappers” in Spin, but I still don’t think the term fits.
If anything, PJ should be labeled as honest-rap since he doesn’t sugar coat anything he says, for better or worse.
Far from your run-of-the-mill braggart, Pigeon John spends more of his time self-loathing and telling you all the ways in which he has failed.
Don’t be fooled though, in many cases his tongue in firmly implanted in his cheek.
This attitude, plus the uniqueness of his music is put on display instantly as he flips his sing-song flow over his own funky beat on “High School Reunion.” Just check the chorus: “I should have known/yeah I should have known/should have got a real job and a digital phone/my high school reunion is soon from now/and I only got two dollars in my checking account.” PJ continues to question his choices on the humorous “Identity Crisis.” While he often explores serious subjects with a comedic approach.
“Emily” is not one of those times as he laments the story of a girl he loved and the daughter that was born out of it.
“Deception” is also decidedly more serious as PJ continues to examine his life, the result is one of the album’s dopest cuts.
Beat Junkie DJ Rhettmatic lends John a couple bangers, most notably “Life Goes On” featuring Abstract Rude. ” is also far too cheesy for my tastes, and it may have been the catalyst for his ’emo-rap’ label.
One of the more inspirational tracks of the past year, PJ sings the hook telling us: “no matter if your life is tattered and you can’t fix what went wrong/life goes on/your battered and your life is scattered, you’re a hook in your own theme song/life goes on.” Freestyle Fellowship’s Mikah 9 helps out on “Originalz,” a second Rhett production featuring some wonderfully obese horns. Still, this is a fun little album that has a few really good songs and PJ definitely wins some points just for trying things that no one else does; even if it doesn’t always work.
Another favorite is “Hello Everybody,” if anything just for its originality. The album isn’t without its faults, it starts to lose its edge as gets past song 10 and there are some songs that could have been left on the cutting room floor (“Sam The Goat”?!?