James Russell, better known in hip-hop circles as Jister, has been a pretty consistent emcee on the North East (England) scene since his Good New Fashioned Fun Volume 1 début mixtape was released back in late 2010. Since that time the Middlesbrough-based artist has essentially grown up as a rapper in the full attention of those that have taken an interest in his music – each new album, mixtape and single release showing improved maturity as the emcee grows and evolves his unique style.
With Jister Miscellaneous, we have a young rapper that has come of age.
It’s been over a year since Jister’s The Funk Might Fracture Your Nose – his longest sustained period between full length releases – and the time away from putting out tracks has been well spent, crafting, refining and tweaking each tune on this album.
The album’s two official single releases, Childish Man and Introducing an Introduction, are the first and last tracks on the album respectively. The latter’s track placement may seem like a strange one given the title, but all becomes clear as Jister Miscellaneous reaches its conclusion – Jister overcoming the undertones of confusion and doubt that exist throughout the album to deliver a statement of self-assurance.
While giving off an air of rhyming self-confidence throughout the ten track release, Jister Miscellaneous also confronts the monotony of life in Teesside; first with the Jister and Alex Bailey co-produced Sick, and later with the self-produced Bored, which despite its fed-up overtone is actually a fun track. Speaking of Alex Bailey, the York-based producer plays an fundamental role in making Jister Miscellaneous the album that it is, not only for his production credits on Sick and Story Time (check out Jister’s sampling of Monty Python), but also the expert mastering of each track on the album – giving a tight, polished and professionally finished release.
Production duties are well spread around across the album, with Tantu (Childish Man), Dead Horse (Lost in Thoughts), 40 Winkz (Voice for Hire), Falside (Morning), Rob Fel (Boom Bap), and Beattsar (Mr Russell), each offering up quality that (thanks partly to good track placement) keeps the album flowing along nicely.
Jister has always been distinctive emcee; blending elements of blues, soul, dance and funk in his music and, while familiar, the Teesside accent and atypical flow are more distinguished here, as is the Anti-Swag Assembly ideology – the crew co-founded by Jister that counts Leddie and Smoggy, Yoshi Riot and Alex Bailey amongst its members.
Overall, Jister Miscellaneous is a well-crafted album, combining high-quality production with strong flow and is definitely Jister’s best work to date.
Download Jister Miscellaneous for free (or name your price if you like it) at: jamesrussellmusic.bandcamp.com.
Follow Jister on Twitter @JisterMusic