Emerging from an antiquated Rap scene mired in tradition and historical baggage, Jae Millz hopes to wash away any doubts and clear a path to salvation with The Flood. Hosts DJ Ill Will and DJ Rock Star offer a well balanced sampler of Jae Millz’ abilities. All parties involved wisely sidestep the temptation to package him as a “savior” of any sort. They let the music do the talking, and aim only to establish Jae Millz’ place in the burgeoning Young Money Empire.
The horns and drum rolls of “The First 48” proudly announce The Flood as a Young Money project. It is effective though not especially noteworthy. “Angels” applies fading keys to the sample made famous by Jay-Z’s super descriptive Marcy Projects anthem “Where I’m from”. On paper these elements might seem to be at odds, but they make for a compelling fit. They emphasize the melding of generational sensibilities. Jae fires off offensively humorous punch lines with reckless abandon.
“Ride Away” coasts weightlessly on production that conjures images of cruising through Harlem at night. The subdued feel is a bit jarring following the translucent artificiality of the electronic compositions that preceded it. Jae’s casual New York swagger is elevated by the whirlwind timelessness of “Hot in These Streets”. Those who long for the days of unabashed Empire State chest thumping will find it hard to resist. “Back to the Yami” borrows both the hook of B.I.G’s “Going Back 2 Cali” and supplants the Golden State supplanted with the magic city. Baby swoops in to lay his lazy vocals over popping drums.
The true range of Jae’s emotional and lyrical content becomes evident on the deceptive “Just Begun”, which lifts the title and instrumental from Reflection Eternals The REunion mixtape. The song opens with shallow self glorification but gradually morphs into a coherent and heartfelt narrative. The transition is neither abrupt nor jarring and the execution is delightfully skillful.
The defiant “Money Gone Come” proves a tad more substantial than its title let’s on as it’s More a declaration of triumph over adversity than a shallow celebration of wealth. Jae and Corey Gunz trade verses that infused with hunger. The chorus reeks of determination yet still manages to be catchy. “Visions of Millions” is a foray into the soulful 70’s. Looped vocals and horns bound back and forth over the drum arrangement. The hazy, crackling ambiance of the beat suggests some serious crate digging on the part of producer Dame Grease.
Certain songs weigh the set down with unnecessary baggage. The amusing but unnecessary “Lemonade” has Jae rhyming over the maddeningly infectious toy piano keys of Gucci Manes latest hit. Jahlil Beats returns to the mixing boards for “Mean”, which mirrors “Lemonade” in its redundancy of theme. Spiraling keyboards weave in and out of the frame but do not achieve the hypnotic feel to which they clearly aspire. The emotional pull of “In the City” is diminished by the cartoonish histrionics of Wayne’s angry verse. His exuberantly spontaneous flow sounds calculated and forced.
Though he wears his Young Money affiliation proudly, Jae Millz has not forsaken his Big Apple roots. To the contrary, he has succeeded where many of his New York brethren have failed. While his synergy of east coast traditionalism with the radio friendly sound of the moment does not yield anything revolutionary, The Flood goes a long way in easing the transition of New York’s ailing rap scene into the next phase.
3.75 out of 5
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