| POSTED BY: JOE PUGLISI
jj takes the typical mixtape ideology of borrowed beats and new lyrics and gives it a decidedly "twee-as-f*ck" twist. On their Kills mixtape, the group takes well known rap lyrics and instrumentals, and couples it with their very specific aesthetic via rerecorded vocals. The result is something surprisingly fresh for what on paper sounds egregiously pretentious. The combination of jj's pleasant voices, coupled with the familiar beats, makes most of the tape a compelling listen. Although it's easy to tune out when the familiar fades into reverberated a cappella and/or obscure radio clips, the flow always returns to something known and noddy.
Many are probably already familiar with "Kill Them", which takes Akon's "Right Now (Na Na)" as it's base beat. Other pleasant mutilations include the play on Kanye West's MBDTF opener "Dark Fantasy" mashed up with "Runaway" (in "High End", with the now infamous Imogen Heap vocal effect), "Power" in "Boom", and the lyrical flips in "New Work" (a pun, discussing going to work, over Jay-Z and Alicia Key's "Empire State Of Mind"). Other tracks are a less identifiable mash of beats and occasionally rap lyrics, but the Kills really excels when jj are the primary vocalists.
It may not be typical in the sense of mixtapes being lyrically proficient (think guys like Wale), or socially aware (it's mostly reguritated). But jj certainly spit a clever take on the source material. Sampling sampled work is a little on the meta-side, and perhaps it isn't valuable or interesting to hear something so distilled. But strip away the implications, and the reverberated, tongue-in-cheek way jj spits "get drunk get crunk get f*cked up/(f*cked up)", or "f*ck all you hos" is enough to keep anyone (with a good sense of humor) entertained.
* * * * * * * * * * * *