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NZ Music Month

May 2010 | tvnz.co.nz

Jdubs - 'Key Notes'


By Joachim Hackshaw

Artist: Jdubs
Album: The Keynotes
Genre: Hip Hop
Rating: 3/5

As a British national now residing in Christchurch, Jdubs is not an obvious choice for my first review of New Zealand Music Month but this hip hop MC from the motherland is a good enough reason to endorse the immigration policies of our nation.

After a preliminary listen and a quick read of the liner notes, this all of a sudden does not seem like such a stretch. Indeed it would seem that the trail towards a debut album for Jdubs was blazed through the southern hip hop scene, with the MC playing the part of radio DJ on RDU's iconic Dollar Mix hip hop show. It was here that he came to the attention of Shapeshifter's Devin Abrams.

As a result, The Keynotes sounds much more like a product of the same southern soul that produced Ladi 6. Not only is his accent barely detectable, but there is a solid Kiwi influence, with Abrams handling the role of executive producer for the project.

The jazz-infused hip hop styling of a project overseen by Mr Abrams provides the ideal complement to the laidback flows of Jdubs. The effortless flow of Jdubs is his greatest asset most times.

However, the very same assets ultimately punish him, perversely enough. While the album makes a fantastic listening experience, there is no one stand-out moment.

The Keynotes is an album that lends itself to a coffee shop more than it does to a club, however our leading man does show himself to be gifted lyricist who could surely handle himself with ease.


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