, It’s been a while since I’ve written a review, much less one for the work of Chicago hip-hop artist D2G. Not only do I enjoy the work that he releases, he seems to possess a certain work ethic that isn’t a part of the repertoire of many other artists, from my observations. Obviously, I await the release of music albums of all genres, all year. D2G’s July 9th: A Cancer Story was no different.
I hate pointless intros. I hate them with a fiery passion. I’m not sure who told music artists–especially rappers–that intros are necessary, but if that person exists, they misled them. Most times, it’s audio snippets or some crazed man screaming obscenities or the artist telling you how big of a chip is on their shoulder. Luckily, D2G’s “A Cancer Intro” gets right into the album, with him laying out what is part-mission statement/part-state of the rap union address. The reggae-tinged “I.R.A.N.” was produced by DC, and I’ve been playing it since I posted it on this page several weeks ago. “I Am Him” continues the swift pace, as D2G exclaims that he is “the shit.” Kudos to RelElite for the production.
Credit Doc Da Mindbenda with the production assist on “Drive Down The LS,” featuring Chicago vocalist Ben Official. This isn’t the typical D2G track, but I think the collab and sound worked very well. Continuing on with somewhat of an appeal to the ladies is “Agreement.” Finy the Genius provides vocal support and Maserati Myers’ production combines some elements of both modern and 90’s R&B. To validate my theory that when rap and hip-hop artist lean towards women at a certain point on an album or mixtape, they do it in threes, we get “The Search.” I actually really liked DC’s production on this track, but felt that a female voice was needed. Perhaps a female singer who also described her search as well would’ve complemented D2G’s tales a bit better.
Vic Spencer and Brian Fresco join the fray on “Not Sober,” and once again, DC is on production duty. Clearly, the subject matter of a song with this title will almost always be fairly light, but I still enjoyed the debauchery-filled lyrics of this one. Fresco’s verse got nastier as it went along, which is sometimes what happens when you’re last to bat.
“YNS” sounded a little too much like “The Search,” in terms of its overall tone, except the latter was smoother. If I read these lyrics before hearing the song, I would have expected something a bit grungier. Fortunately, D2g raps along with a beat better than most, so even on tracks that don’t seem to fit his style, he can “save” them by being fairly technically sound. One of my favorite performances on J9:ACS was by Chicago rapper Angel Davenport…and she didn’t even rap. However, her singing on the hook of “Hangover Syndrome” was extremely rhythmic along with B4 La$ers’ production, even though she has a somewhat unconventional sound. The emotional appeal on “If U Hear Me” is very strong, which is exactly what I expect from an artist of D2G’s caliber.
Producer R.A.D. and D2G rebound from “YNS” with the beautiful-sounding “Come On.” Chicago rapper Abstrak Mind contributes a very good verse, as he and D2G convey thoughts of how difficult it can be to just to make it to the finish line. “;” is officially my shit, and I think Vic Spencer should offer his services on hooks, if he can duplicate his effort from the track. O’Bonjour produced “;” and admittedly, the beat grew on me. “Hood Tales” were just that, but in typical D2G fashion, he took it a step further. With all due respect to the other vocalists on J9:ACS, they simply couldn’t match Alex Brittany on “Reoccurring Nightmares.” It’s her voice that I hoped to hear with each passing second, even though D2G’s lyrical effort was one of his best on the album. I’d argue that this was the best collaboration on the entire project.
J9:ACS ends with “A Cancer Outro,” and it’s appropriate that one of the first words D2G utters is “reflect,” since that is what he seems to do often, and very well. Every once in a while, I believe people should take self-inventory and reflect on things in the past that have contributed to their present and possibly, their future. Unfortunately, I’m unsure of the female vocalist in the background.
Knowing what went into this project is what makes it even better, in my opinion. To hear that an artist has been working on an album for nearly a decade is remarkable, and warrants much praise. Who knows if D2G is gaining traction in the Chicago hip-hop landscape. I, personally, don’t care. Politics dictate the flow of music. I think all any of us should hope for is that D2G continues to churn out good, meaningful music.