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    Jim Jones:

    Pray IV Reign

    Tue, 24 Mar 2009 08:16:30

    Album Reviews: Pray IV Reign by Jim Jones

    For Jim Jones, the road to success was one that ran straight through Harlem, but even on the rapper's major label debut (fourth album overall) he still hasn't forgotten from where he came. While the veils of excess and hedonism that have become commonplace in this genre over the years give much of Pray IV Reign an almost formulaic vibe, Jones' true grit and gristle as a performer who has earned his way isn't hard to see at all.

    Though suffering from garbled gibberish and idle chatter, the soulful harmonica on "Intro" sounds as if it were a leftover echo from 116th & Lexington, ringing out from decades ago. Hard-hitters like the piano-laden "Pulling Me Back," "Let It Out" and the rock guitar-driven "Frenemies" allow Jones to exorcize the demons he gained along his way, while the ballad-esque "Rain" shows the man to have more depth than the sex-crazed anthem "Medicine" might suggest.

    When rhyming from his heart and not his dick, Jim Jones comes across as one of the most brutally honest and motivated artists in the scene. Sure, blowjobs are entertaining as hell, but haven't we heard enough rappers brag about getting them? Feel free to roll your eyes before moving on to the moments of Pray IV Reign that actually matter; there are plenty of them.

    —Ryan Ogle

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