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Are You Listening Yet? (listen/download)

Another new artist is coming to the site. He goes by the name of Emmitt James. James is holding it down for the Milwaukee Hip-Hop scene. However, he is a poet at his core. He’s a two time state finalist and has competed on a national level. A few months back he released a poetry book entitled Food Stamps and Other Forms of Reparations. The book is based on life here in the inner city, sounds deep. At the end of last month he made the official transition from poetry to rapping with the release of his debut project Are You Listening Yet?. The tape is an 11 track offering based on a variety of topics including the life and dreams of an aspiring emcee. Ready to dig in? A break down of a few tracks can be found after the jump.

“Back To The Rap”

The production here was handled by Guarantees. It entails a healthy bass line, dramatic musical elements, and a serious vibe. The hook is quality. The delivery is clean with a consistent pace and the lyrics are meaningful. The verses are good. James has an attention grabbing flow, canny wordplay, and strong rhymes. He shows off his skills while speaking a little bit on the work he’s put in and sharing a little of his personal life. Memorable lines include: “Since October I been working on this mixtape. To make sure the production and delivery straight. Well truthfully I was aiming for epic. So they could idolize my lyrics as if God said it. But no blasphemy. When it’s time to go, I’ll  be in the studio if heaven happens to ask for me.”  Love those lines, very clever. Overall, this song is a banger and a great first song choice.

“Dreams”

This is another Guarantees produced track. The production is dope. It features a mid-tempo groove, a prominent drum presence, and a chill vibe. The hook is on point. The delivery is neat and the lyrics are straightforward. The verses are great. James contributes an assertive flow, solid wordplay, and choice rhymes. He definitely gets the point across that he’s passionate and serious about being successful in this music game. Check it as he spits: “I used to do this s–t for fun. Now I do it everyday. The same reason I’m motivated and working hard. They wanna see me fail and I just hope the best for y’all. Y’all can hate, I’m a work on my repertoire. Brought my resume and cover letter. I am on my job. Y’all get high, I get higher. Everybody raps but I spit fire.” Brilliant work going on right there. In the end, this song is a hit.

“Smile”

This track is produced by I.X. Matthew and contains a sample of a cut called “Smile” by Telepopmusik. Matthew is also the person who suggested James for the site. The production here is nice. It contains a quiet tone, light musical devices, and a solemn vibe. The hook is decent. It is where the sample is most utilized. If the sample was just a little louder and more audible, it would have a better impact. The verses are unique. James brings a spoken word style flow and intense rhymes. He brazenly tells the story of a female who finds herself in two very different complicated relationships. One is an abusive situation with a male and the other is a happy yet controversial union with another female. Take it in as he spits: “He might go deep but that don’t mean that he spiritual. Like every n—a rhyme but that don’t mean that he lyrical. Cause you deserve the best beyond Grammy material. Yeah it’s true but you still gotta believe it. Addicted to bad men, I know you still kinda feening for. You don’t know what you want? That means explore … cause God got more in store … for you.” Powerful sentiments coming from those lines right there. All in all, this song is another hit and the favorite off of the tape. A must listen, hands down.

**My Two Cents: Emmitt James is one of the most talented artists I’ve heard in a while. Not sure if its due to his extensive background in poetry or what but he has a wonderful way of putting things together. Are You Listening Yet? is an impressive debut. James came with top of the line material and selected winning producers to get behind him on this project. I hope he decides to stick with music for a while. The game needs a breath of fresh air like him. Readers are highly encouraged to sit back and treat their ears to this mixtape and then hit James up on Facebook. -MinM