Bump J - Dinner Time

Posted February 5, 2008
Tags: Bump J,

So there I was, surrounded by mountains of cardboard boxes, a roll of packing tape in my right...

Dinner Time Album Review

So there I was, surrounded by mountains of cardboard boxes, a roll of packing tape in my right hand, a stack of CDs in my left. See, I spent last weekend moving apartments and eventually, despite massive procrastination, I was forced to confront the 200-plus CDs encircling my desk. If the album was worth keeping it went into the box. If it wasn’t, the garbage. In a way it was a beautiful, rarely in life are we presented with such cut and dry decisions. Jay-Z’s American Gangster? Box. Gucci Mane’s Welcome to the Traphouse? Garbage.

This test, let’s call it the move test, is the perfect way to gauge an album’s worth. If you had to move, put all your albums in a box, haul them to the truck, unload and unpack them, which ones would make it? It’s with this frame of mind that I present the latest MC to bring Chi-Town’s streets to America’s doorstep, Bump J. Bump, known locally as a rising star and nationally as “that guy who did a song with Kanye before Atlantic Records screwed him”, is back with a new mixtape, the DJ Sean Mac hosted Dinnertime Vol. 1. So let’s close our eyes, picture the U-Haul truck idling outside, and answer one question; does Dinnertime make the move?

The answer isn’t nearly as simple as it seems, there are a number of smaller questions that have to be answered before final judgment is passed, the first being is he bringing something new to the game? Personally that’s my number one criteria, the reason Lupe automatically makes the move, and Bump falls well short on the freshness count. Dinnertime is loaded with loaded weapons, loaded trunks full of coke, girls loaded on alcohol, and of course, the now obligatory “I love my momma” song. Bump even reaches into Houston territory for Chevy Fresh Out, a certified banger still dripping with candy paint. It’s not that Chevy Fresh Out doesn’t hit, the bass line alone will break your ribcage, it’s just rides through the same “hundred thousand chain hang off of my neck” territory we’ve been hearing for years now, except without even a hint of the good times Paul Wall and company promise.

Which is a shame because Bump clearly has some serious lyrical skill, skill that gets buried under an avalanche of kilos and calibers. Bad Influence is a warning for parents everywhere to keep their children far, far away from Mr. J: “I teach ya son how to kill and cook up a ki.” Despite the lyrical mediocrity Bump showcases his full range of vocal abilities, from a Clipse-esque straight spoken style to fully flowing lines that ride the piano-laced beat sharper than a bullet through a cold Chicago night. What’s more, I know for a fact that the man is capable of much more clever wordplay, I’ve listened to Shine. The track’s a gripping tale of growing up with an overworked underpaid single mother, “too young to get a job so I pitched that white,” that transitions into a promise to give his own son a better life, “before I ever let him starve I’d risk my life.” Now here’s something I can truly connect to, though it’s hard to reconcile Shine’s pro-education message with Bad Influence’s vow to turn kids into pistol-carrying adults. How can the same man write both songs? It’s a fascinating question, I’d love to get his answer.

Let’s get one thing clear, we’re not discussing whether or not Bump J actually committed the crimes he raps about, I’m just going to assume he did, we’re trying to figure out if he makes dope music. Depends what track we’re talking about. No New Niggaz has enough gun shots to serve as the soundtrack to the new Rambo movie, and about the same script, but Roof Back turns a Rick Ross sample and a rumbling beat (courtesy of No I.D.) into an anthem. There's the scorching slow jam sound of So In Love, and then there's the Shawna-assisted Put You Up On Game, featuring a Bump verse that sounds strangely like Jermaine Dupri’s from Oh I Think Dey Like Me. So does that earn Bump J move-worthy status? Let’s put it this way; I can’t imagine unpacking, noticing Dinnertime was missing, and being upset about it. That’s why moving can be so great, it forces you to decide what’s worth keeping, and what you’re willing to leave behind.

DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins

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Posted February 5, 2008
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