Hype and chill musical vibes collide on Mars Jackson's new release. The Hill District-born rapper begins with fun, ambitious rhymes on "High Class Society," a smooth production debut from prominent Pittsburgher DJ Nugget. Jackson's strengths include his beat selection and versatility, as he molds sounds that range in influence from A Tribe Called Quest to vintage Three 6 Mafia. He enlists local electro-pop band Badboxes for help on "Sacrifice," an experimental track that could fit into most college-radio rotations. Another highlight is "More Promises," an introspective song in which Jackson questions some of his own thoughts and actions while reflecting on relationships with family and friends.
Respect My Mind
The Camp unites six hip-hop artists who have previously developed reputations as solo artists in Pittsburgh's music scene. As a collective, the group's debut album release highlights comfortable collaborations atop hard-hitting beats. Each member brings a unique flavor: Draztyk's gruff voice; 41Deuce's impeccable cadence; Kid A's in-the-pocket wordplay; Jay Nizzy's more laid-back flow; YM DaKid's street-savvy rhymes and knack for making a catchy hook. The crew's producer, Mysterious, has won several local beat battles in recent years. On Respect My Mind, he samples Bootsy Collins on "Rather Be With You" and crafts an excellent, dark original production with "Frauds."