As the first release from the newly created Don’t Flop Records, a new appendage from the ever busy Battle League of the same name, it’s easy to have some high expectations for Just Assume, I’m Everywhere and a bit of optimism before the first listen won’t be disappointed.
It’s a bit of an odd one this, mixing some intelligent lyricism in with at times noticeably incongruous flavours from the Pop end of the spectrum. Jefferson Price’s melodic hooks are, in themselves, quite good but in amidst the more driven flows they can come across as an odd interlude which doesn’t always do a good job of complimenting the poetic meat here. I get the feeling that, at times, they’ve been forced in there a little bit simply because Jefferson can break out a smooth, polished vocal rather than there being any particular place for them in the context of the track. ‘What You Saying Though’ and ‘They Follow’ both feel slightly awkward as a result of the general lightness injected in the midst of a firm but not overly hard flow from Jefferson himself.
That said though Jefferson can carry it off well and on ‘Good Old Days’ the mix does work, feeding melodic choruses in with the overall flow of the track and even where it does seem like a mismatch on earlier tracks it adds more of an awkwardly schizophrenic quality to affairs as styles are mixed than actually detracting from the quality of the sound.
Production, predominantly from J57 (with Audible Doctor kicking in on ‘Insight’) is solid throughout with very well crafted if not revolutionary beats, it’s familiar, not too heavy and pretty much faultless for what it is. Given the steady nature of the flows it all fits although some added instrumental flourishes could have fed in some more natural hooks but that’s a speculative criticism and the direction J57 and Jefferson Price have taken here is far from a bad one.
The guest appearances here are a definite strong point, trans-Atlantic flows matching up seamlessly with the differences complimenting each other nicely. Jefferson Price’s own contributions are well paced but at times stray towards an almost breathless need to get the words out which feeds a sense of passion which is well managed. What’s more he’s definitely smart with his lyricism, occasionally a bit predictable with the near unavoidable bouts of self-reference being obvious enough before giving way to intelligently cynical depth which goes a long way towards justifying it. It’s a depth that’s matched by the contributors albeit in a more laid back way but again it all melds together well.
Available as a free download Just Assume, I’m Everywhere is definitely worth the bandwidth and minor issues aside it really is a solid EP and a very respectable first release from Don’t Flop. Where things come together (most notably on my personal favourite ‘Good Old Days’ and ‘Insight’ (which features a full cast of J57, Truth, Soul Khan and Koncept)) there’s some pretty compulsive listening to be had here.