ONE of the greatest rappers to come out of the ‘90s “golden era” of New York hip-hop, J-Live is still carrying the torch. An Atlanta resident of seven years now, his latest LP, 2014’s Around the Sun, showcases his knack for confident, smooth rhymes and soul influences as he takes on social issues with approachability and some fantastic wordplay.
J-Live has released five LPs prior to Around the Sun, but no release process has been as legendary as the saga that surrounded the The Best Part. Caught in transition between indie and major labels, the debut release, originally slated for 1998, was put off, and put off, and put off. While press copies were distributed (to overwhelmingly positive feedback), the album still hung there, until bootlegs eventually leaked. In the midst of the weird career gap, J-Live began teaching English in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brownsville and Bushwick. His story is already a classic, but he’s not doing telling it just yet.
Willie Evans, Jr. and Dope Sandwich join the bill.