Lee Hawthorn

Review: Just B – Angel Dust

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just B B-side

The name on everyone’s lips on the North East Hip Hop scene is undoubtedly Just B.

His first visual of 2015 comes from a record talked about in high esteem by fans and peers alike. Angel Dust, a single from his EP B-side, reveals the rapper’s opinion on the local scene, contains braggadocios claims of his status in regional raps hierarchy and showcases his versatile flows – double time and otherwise.

His style manages to maintain a marvellous balance of up-tempo and griminess. Instead of keeping up with the steady pace of the instrumental, Just B would have been forgiven for a more melancholic approach to a record that takes shots at MTV’s reality show Geordie Shore, and the stereotypes that Newcastle natives are expected to live up (or down) to. The lack of emotional resonance in the delivery is bittersweet. On the one hand, it might have offered an extra layer and sense of character to Angel Dust, and yet for the same reason the lack of emotional range throws the technical ability to the forefront and corresponds with the straight up honesty of his lyricism.

A stand out bar from the record “you only know me for my double time, don’t know me for my troubled life” is almost self-contradictory. With the aforementioned note of the lack of emotional range, and focus on the technical ability, it’s interesting that Just B would comment on just that, with an inflection that indicates it is the listener’s fault. While that statement is seemingly true, the B-side MC must take a portion of the responsibility. Yet, maybe he’s similar to Azealia Banks, who uses music for entertainment and Twitter to speak about her “troubled life”.

Although Just B is currently focusing on post-promo for B-side, I’m very excited to hear new music in the coming months and hope that the region’s hottest rapper can build upon the success already attained in 2014.

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