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Big Juss Black Mamba Serums Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review engaging effort that can only build on the legacy of Company Flow.

Jack Smith 2004

As a member of Company Flow, Bigg Jus was responsible for some of the most influential hip hop of the late-nineties. Alongside fellow rapper EL-P and DJ/producer Mr Len, he revitalised the US underground with one peerless album; 1997's Funcrusher Plus. A raw blend of dense, abstract rhymes and intricate beats, Company Flow's debut immediately established the fledgling Rawkus label as a highly influentialindependent player.Paving the way for the likes of Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Pharaohe Monch.

Black Mamba Serums represents the first full-length work from Bigg Jus since Company Flow disbanded.It sees him step out from behind the shadow of EL-P - until now the most groups productive alumnus and head of Def Jux records.

Thankfully the skills remain intact. Bigg Jus still rhymes with the kind of warped, lyrical dexterity that makes you follow him all the way to the end of a line, just to see if he falls off. There's no slacking on the production front either. Voraciously sampling funk, soul, rock and pop, these tracks refract the canon of American music like sunlight though a broken bottle.

Bigg Jus jumps from topic to topic like an attention-deficit teen. "I Triceratops" is typical. After a call and response party intro 'Where the B-boys at, where the real writers at?' the track launches into a critique of Bush's America over nightmarish strings, before a sharp left turn into a schmaltzy lounge singer vibe.

Ultimately Black Mamba Serums strikes the listener as oddly anachronistic, but in a good way.The last time hip-hop was this unashamedly independent and musically diverse, bling was but a twinkle in Puffs eye and Eminem was still washing dishes on 8 Mile Road. This is an engaging effort that can only build on the legacy of Company Flow.

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