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JAY ROYALE ‘Criminal Discourse’

Jun 28, 2023 | Hip Hop, Reviews

The voice of Baltimore hits another home run

Reality bites hard, and Jay Royale’s series of Baltimore albums are a stark portrait of social degradation and harsh choices. Criminal Discourse is the third chapter, and widens the lens to make a study of the gang’s street codes which define the everyday hustle; in particular the lines of communication from the payphone to the trap phone.

A steady stream of boom bap and immaculate scratching maintain a shadowy allure, as guests drop detailed bars: AZ Havoc Of Mobb Deep, Saigon, Kool G Rap & Willie The Kid; turntable styles come courtesy of DJ Grazzhoppa, DJ Crypt & DJ Eclipse.

Yes, Baltimore is the home of The Wire, but also Edgar Allan Poe, and even he wouldn’t have envisaged such aspirations turning to dust as this powerful triptych illustrates.

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