Jewelry Rap is a product of two things: it’s definitely the result of a talented MC’s love and appreciation for hip-hop and all things to do with it, and it’s indisputably the culmination of amazing chemistry between the rapper Jah-Monte and the producer Lavonte Hines aka FLLS. The eight new collaborations the duo lay down here are astonishingly varied in style, sound and delivery, and each is an invaluable musical addition to a constantly growing discography. ‘Holistic Sebi Life Style’ sees Jah-Monte attack the mic with incredible tenacity. ‘Having festivals in Charlotte without me included me included? That’s why them shits never work’ he sneers on the verse. ‘I ain’t tryna work, these n***** be trash, like Keith Sweat let’s make the memory last’ he implores on the hook. The beat has a winding, hypnotic nature to it that allows for the rapper’s stinging bars to engrain themselves remarkably fast.

By contrast, ‘Fenty & Prada Mama’ is smooth and soulful, a joyful sample looping under the snappy drums. The rapper’s snarl is still as well utilised as ever, however: ‘The game ain’t changed, there’s just no real n***** left, I can read her body language like a n**** deaf.’ For a lot of the song, FLLS’s production rides out solo, proving that Jah-Monte is well aware of the importance of crafting an atmosphere in his songs, and allowing the beats to act as far more than a backdrop. There is real, genuine love for the art to be found here, and it’s one that continues on tracks like the jazzy ‘Creative Loathing FOH’ in wildly different ways. With minimal pianos and drums backing him, the rapper delivers lyrical hell: ‘Fuck a bitch you won’t catch me in no detective mode, by the time the pound drop I had 10 extra O’s’. Few are blessed with the skill for rapping that Jah-Monte possesses, and he doesn’t waste a second of any of these songs to exercise it.

Another attribute that the rapper frequently displays is his ability to write a fantastic hook. ‘Rip Swindle’ is the best example, his delivery transforms into a hoarse holler that conveys the passion in the music better than ever. ‘Light your shit up like a candlelight, better show some fucking manners like’. As I’ve mentioned before when covering his music, you can really hear the pain and anguish when you put on one of Jah-Monte’s songs. In my eyes though, no track on Jewelry Rap does this better than the proper closer ‘I Miss You Tae Tae’. The production here is something special, FLLS conjures a palpably mournful mood as the rapper pains a grim picture of his upbringing, including the death of his loved ones.

It is clear from the first moment of this project to the last that as a rapper Jah-Monte is an almost unmatched talent, and as a songwriter he is truly flourishing. Working with FLLS, he has crafted an early contender for AOTY and made something truly magical out of the experiences he knows all too well. He has something for all here, appealing to long time fans with the latest, greatest instalment of the ‘Best Rapper In Charlotte’ series and drawing in an array of new listeners with diverse production choices, intimate lyrical moments and increasingly brilliant mic performances. Definitely one of the hottest releases out right now, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not listening to it.

Stream the project in full right here.

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