Four Years After Being Leaked, Jean Grae’s “Jeanius” Album Stands The Test Of Time

A couple months back Jean Grae posted a Myspace bulletin saying she was retiring. Truthfully, I felt her on that shit. She hasn’t had a steady stream of music come out in a long time, and god only knows what she’s been doing for the past few years. Hip-hop was sort of in a weird place back in 2004, when her last official album, This Week, dropped. Four years later, the underground hipster sect that she’d been appealing to for years is overrun by lackluster artists whose stylish kaffiyehs and retro clothing make up for their lack of skills… *sigh* What’s an act like Jean Grae, who’s probably the most criminally slept-on female rapper in history, to do?

Well, according to Rob Harvilla at The Village Voice, she’s not retiring… just yet. And this week her long-delayed album Jeanius, hit stores. It’s almost entirely produced by 9th Wonder (or maybe it is entirely produced and wikipedia is wrong, who the fuck knows, i downloaded the shit, sue me), and it’s common knowledge to Jean fans that the album leaked around the same time This Week dropped in ’04. I never downloaded it back then. Not that I didn’t want to, but I just have this weird thing about downloading shit that artists never intended people to hear. Plus everything I read with her talking about it, she seemed upset that the album leaked. Blacksmith Music is releasing Jeanius through their situation at Warner Bros, and I don’t even think she’s happy about that either, despite what she says. Supposedly there were some issues with the “Love Thirst” video being out there like that, who knows what’s what these days. Internet is a confusing place.

But for as discontent as she seems about everything, Jeanius is a great piece of work. Consider the fact that I’m hearing it like most people who didn’t download it would hear it, four years after it was created. The production doesn’t sound very current, in fact it sounds like some mid-90s soul bap, which is basically what 9th Wonder has been doing for most of his career. So it’s pretty routine for him. But that sound is timeless, so whether you’re hearing it in ’04 or ’08, it’s still going to sound good, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Of course there’s that requisite 9th Wonder snare that everyone hates with a passion, although I never understood the hatred for it. It’s a snare drum, get over it. It’s more about the chopped samples/melodies than the drums. What I do like is the overall sound of the LP, how each track flows into the next one, creating a good consistent vibe. It’s music for the sake of making music, not music for the sake of making “this” type of record and “that” type of record. Beats and rhymes, that’s it. Not a perverse concept, but not one that many seem to be able to pull off well these days.

Jean Grae= “don’t rush me”

Jeean Grae ft. Phonte- “the time is now”

bonus: Jeanius original samples set

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  • Rob The Music Ed

    I agree. I didnt download this album back then for the same reason. CD is tight and Jean Grae is the real miss rap supreme F the bullshit!

  • Boogie

    Granted it’s only a snare drum, the problem is, it’s the SAME snare drum. If somebody produces a whole album, and he’s done a few of them, you can’t use the same snare drum for every single song. While he does make some bomb ass sample choices, since the drums are supposed to be the most knocking part of the beat, that’s all you hear… the same damn snare drum

    • Phil

      OH PLEASE.

  • kirk

    I don’t know why I didn’t download this then I’ve always liked Jean Grae since she said “niggas take my name in vein like I was cocaine” if that was her but I’ve always thought that was her and that line was tyte and the whole rhyme was the best thing I ever heard a female spit so. . . yeah but she is tyte and this music sounds beautiful. you can almost see it.

  • Peru

    I have never once felt as though a woman should ever be in the booth rapping, if she wasnt singing she better be in the booth shining the mic…but Jean Grae….Jean Grae has changed my mind, I like what I’m hearing. Flow kinda reminds me of Eminem…

  • daz_oc

    I got this on Itunes and it was released like a month or two ago so I was confused when I saw that it was “finally” in stores. does anyone know if Itunes albums count toward soundscan or does the artist get a portion of the sales?

  • CL

    Jeanius is a mean ass album…the joint with Phonte is crazy! I would like to see him get more play.

  • Incilin

    I actually downloaded this shit like 2 years ago and thought it was a very solid album. Funny thing is, “Don’t Rush Me” was by far my fave track but the version you posted sounds really different than the version I downloaded. For one thing, it’s much more crisp and sounds like it was remastered. Which is a good thing, but if you really want that old 90s sound, fuck it and get the old leak of the album and not the new one.

    Another big difference: adlibs. The version of this song I got has the most fucking annoying adlibs I ever heard in my life (Jean goes off on some shit about her mom, pretends to cry, pretends to sing, and praises 9th Wonder, shit is just weird) I gota say, I HATE her fucking adlibs, but guessing from this track they’ll prolly be removed since every time she’s not rapping she nearly ruins the entire track (nearly).

  • thoreauly77

    gonna get the jeanius album. i still regularly listen to the mr. len album, which features jean on three of the twelve tracks. the album is called pity the fool. i recall when eminem had put out “stan” and everyone was going crazy because it was such an ill narrative, that jean was capable of something like that. the next year “taco day” was released, which remains, to me, the most insane lyrical narrative, maybe ever.

    nice drop rob.

  • $ykotic

    This is what happens when ure a female and u wont use sex appeal to sell units. Period.

    She has been killing the circuit in BK for a minute.

    Is it me or are artists really getting fed up with the structure of the industry? Like the nicest mofo’s wanna hang it up?


    tham a party in my mind this shit is good

  • john

    jeanius is even better with time.. 9th never sounded better..

  • Severe3000

    she a good artist…but them tracks bore me.

    and that snare be gettin on my nerves too…