J-LIVE - TIMELESS: Public Enemy, KRS-ONE, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Nas … J-Live?

I know a lot of you might not know who J-Live is or why he is featured amongst MCs that have made such unique and lasting impressions in HipHop culture.

But you should know who he is, especially if HipHop as a cultural entity and a forum for artistic expression that actually sparks your mind is important to you.

As an MC who can masterfully spit a freestyle, battle, story, or political rhyme at seemingly any tempo, J-Live is practically without peer in 2004.

For years J-Live was more myth than mic checka, with his first full-length album The Best Part created between 1995 and 1998 falling victim to Industry Rule 4080 and becoming one of Napster’s best kept secrets until 2001 when it saw legitimate release.

J-Live followed up with 2002’s All of The Above, which is an expansive, detailed, impressive feat of lyricism by any standard.

J-Live delivers rhymes with a passion and sincerity that makes each line and each song seem more significant than the last. And he actually has something to say. He actually has something to say. HE ACTUALLY HAS SOMETHING TO SAY!

All of the Above inspired this piece, which I labeled “Timeless,” after one of my favorite J-Live joints. It’s also a perfect label for J-Live’s music which so embodies what true HipHop is all about that it’s, well, timeless.

As for the featured lyrics, they were also taken from “Timeless”:

My style has no birth record //

You might know when my record was born / or how I played my favorite classics ‘til the needles was gone //

And true say / you might know how my moms pushed in ’76 turned my worldview inside out / in one day //

But this goes back further than that, further than rap / before that first hospital slap / Way beyond the confines of joy and pain, further than pride and shame, older than the foundation of the food chain //

To born the understanding of an equal cipher, with the consistency of daylight / I shine so bright / I check 1-2, but I ain’t talking about no mic / I check 1-2 to calculate the science of life / To add things right, and take care of my business, / Allowing me to handle my pleasure like a pirate does treasure //

My rhymes are buried too deep to measure by the sands of the hourglass / in other words built to last //

I keep it timeless, because I take my time with it, /
Respect goes out to civilized and committed, /
Cuz once you hear the capital J rap it’ll stay / with you for a while and it won’t go away