J57 and Koncept released their latest collaboration The Fuel EP last month to critical acclaim across the blogosphere, and it shouldn’t be terribly be surprising if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time as the duo, along with their crew Brown Bag All-Stars have long been mainstays on this site and others. Of course, for those who are new to the site and for those who need their memories refreshed, we’ll go through some backstory.
Over the last couple of years, the Long Island-born, Brooklyn-based DJ, producer and emcee J57 has received attention and critical praise for a production style that channels the sound of hip-hop’s golden age — i.e., big, boom bap beats, heavy synth-based orchestration paired with ridiculously tight, catchy hooks. And as a result of being mentored by the legendary DJ Premier, the Brooklyn-based producer, DJ and emcee has assisted Premier on production work with the likes of Nas, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. Those contributions have led to collaborations with Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Method Man, Raekwon, Mack Wilds, The Roots and others; in fact, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few months, you’d likely remember that J57 produced “The Purple Tape” off Method Man’s recently released The Meth Lab.
J57’s most frequent collaborator Koncept has been one of the more productive, prolific and consistent, contemporary emcees around as he’s released a number of impressive singles and EPs, including one of my favorite EPs, More Than Meets The Eye with Tranzformer. Of course, if you’ve been frequenting here, you know that I’ve written about EP title track, “The Fuel” which paired Koncept’s dexterous rhyming about having the desire and determination to succeed in even the most desperate, hand-to-mouth poverty and working soul-crushing jobs with your dignity and sense of self intact with J57’s soulful production featuring soaring organ chords, boom-bap drums and Akie Bermiss‘s earnest vocals.
The Fuel’s latest single “Excitement” continues the duo’s reputation for crafting conscious and thoughtful hip-hop based around deeply personal experiences and hard-fought wisdom as Koncept rhymes about what it means to actually start achieving your longest-held and most passionate dreams — and to see success when others may have doubted that it could actually happen. Much like “The Fuel,” “Excitement” clearly draws from hip-hop’s golden era as the song pairs slowly cascading synths, propulsive, boom-bap drums and a soulful hook sung by Andrew Thomas Reid with Koncept’s dexterous flow.
The recently released official video follows J57, Koncept and a bunch of friends as they go about “a day in the life” which includes copious amounts of Makers Mark, blunts and hanging out with friends and supporters. And the entire time, they’re all just elated to be alive and to actually bullshit their day away instead of “working” for a living.