Given the title of this release and J.R. Writer’s rep as one of the better wordsmiths, I expected Politics and Bullshit to be a powerful call to arms, or at least an honest, personal look at the times. Personal it is: All the politics and especially the bullshit revolve around the artist’s boasts. Anyone who looks around will find a whole world of rappers who are literate, funky and fearless, who often are the only voices in pop culture speaking truth to power — or even truth to community. On this album, however, the politics of J.R. Writer seems to be the same tired bullshit.
The Dipset member is certainly open about his drug dealing. In fact, he says in the opener, “It’s Like a Jungle,” that his music, for all intents and purposes, is crack. This, in a tune that borrows from both Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy, who saw their work as much more than addictive product. He opens the record by saying, “Welcome back to greatness.” Then he delivers none.
“Hate on Me,” which cleverly remixes the Who, is another slickly produced, synth-driven jam that just boils down to how Writer thinks we’re all jealous of him. It goes downhill from there. The only thing that rescues Writer from his own cockiness are producers like Trakdealerz and Soul Professa, who at least provide solid if tame rhythms and pull out some odd samples. The rest of Politics and Bullshit leans on the man’s sense of his own greatness. In “Change,” he says, “If I was Superman the S would be a dollar sign.” In the freestyle “Come With Me,” he says that, “Once I shit on a nigga he neva gonna smell the same.” The whole thing ends with a short but cool “Uptown Girl,” which, yes, cops Billy Joel.
Listening to a rap record today that is all about boasting and riches is the same as listening to rock stars sing about coke and limos. If all your money does is make you want to talk about your money, why bother? Keep your money, enjoy your shit, and pass on the mic to someone that is still hungry and can see beyond the mirror.