Okay, look, I’m kinda cheating here. I actually had ‘Dreams $old Separately‘ physically handed to me by Mighty Jai himself months ago. Back in October, at the A3C Hip Hop Festival, Jai sorta ran up on the kid, CD in hand and boasted on the presentation of it compared to, um, a few others received that day. LOL.
The artwork is pretty, yep, but the St. Petersburg native stood out for being bold enough to insist I listen to the project just based on the look of it. So when he hit me on Twitter recently, I instantly recalled the exchange.
‘Dreams’ is a soulful compilation that includes everything from tales of dysfunctional relationships to odes dedicated to every character in the hood. It’s all very thoughtfully done. For example, the instrumental for The O’Jays ‘Backstabbers’ is used quite a few times on the project — almost as if they serve as time markers, from one mood to the next.
Jai’s bars are carefully laid over some impressive production from up-and-coming beatsmiths like The Bakaz Men and Heracles who composed ‘King Solomon’ [below].
A few of my picks include ‘The Struggle,’ ‘Live It Up’ and the Stevie Wonder-sampled ‘A Song About It.’ The latter is a straight-up sex song, but somehow Jai keeps the raunchiness reined in to a certain extent. I think the fact that he used Stevie helps. Ha!
The intro track, ‘Ladies & Gentlemen’ is a nice one too, produced by Knowledge of MPK Beatz. Pretty refreshing to see that Jai really did put some thought into ‘Dreams $old Separately’ beyond the art.
Check Mighty Jai’s ‘Ladies & Gentlemen’