jean-grae-premiere

PREMIERE: Jehs Beats & Mr. Brown “Taking It All Back” featuring Jean Grae

Much like the mutant telepath known as Jean Grey in Marvel comics, the emcee who borrowed her name is prone to long hiatuses and glorious returns. Real fans know she can never fully step away from her true love. Even though it may feel like she hasn’t dropped anything in like forever, Jean grae has been releasing a handful of EPs every year since 2012.

Ladies who bring bars owe a debt of gratitude to Jean for blazing a path. Sure, there were solid female emcees before her but she immediately upped the ante when she stepped on the scene in the mid ’90s. By the time her seminal Jeanius album was leaked to the net, other rappers already knew not to hop on a track with Jean if they didn’t have that heat.

The artist formerly known as What What became fed-up with the industry while she was signed to Talib Kweli’s Blacksmith label and took a bow from the game in 2008. She continued to work on music and perform but on her own terms. Jean went independent and started releasing her music on Bandcamp.

Brooklyn producers Jehs Beats and partner Mr. Brown recently connected with one of hip hop’s most under-appreciated word-wielders for this haunting joint “Taking It All Back.” The slow-burn track is the perfect soundbed for Jean to weave her sweet melodies and fierce raps all through. The way her words syncopate on the hook is almost like she’s chanting a mantra. And the chune seems to hang in the air even after the last adlib echoes. We’re not saying this is best listened to after some ‘erbal medication but maybe save it until 4:20.

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