Jam Baxter’s ‘Mansion 38’ is a somewhat surreal experience. Each track feels like a different room that goes deeper into the rappers subconscious, which in turn takes you on a journey to far reaching locations or more domestically urban locales. Jam’s delivery is as usual effortless and eloquent while bordering on lethargic, but this is not a bad thing it just causes you to listen closer and when you witness the true depth of Jam’s imagination your left feeling rewarded for your efforts.
Creatively Jam Baxter is not afraid to leave behind traditional boom bap tracks in favour of keeping the lyrical momentum over more understated and up to date drum patterns as demonstrated on ‘Titanic 2’ featuring Lee Scott it’s a nice tip of the hat towards 2017 mainstream rap culture and a reminder that true lyricists can adapt to any style and smash it.
Overall the albums soundscapes are warm and embracing with an ethereal edge that hints at an underlying unease. The versatility here is undeniable. Each verse provides conversation style observations that paint the bigger conceptual picture. Perfectly exemplified in tracks like ‘Down’ and ‘Soufflé’ Jams take on relationships in the former and lost friendships in the latter give you the full intention of what he means without explicitly spelling it out. A perfect case of the artist being able to show you instead of tell you where he is directing his art.
Overall Mansion 38 is a beautifully coloured abstract construction, underneath a traditionally British grey sky. It’s been nestled in my iTunes library for weeks now and I’m still not getting fatigued of searching its many rooms; compelling songwriting and powerful cinematic production make this project a modern day classic. Another great release for High Focus Records and a great start to the year.
Also check the videos for ‘Soi 36’, ‘Teeth Marks’ and ‘Dumb’ filmed in Hanoi, Vietnam and Bangkok respectively.
Other stand out tracks- ‘Down’, ‘Soufflé’, ‘Titanic 2’ and ‘Soi Dog’.
Mansion 38 is out now on High Focus, and available on CD, Limited edition vinyl, cassette and digitally here