“ Genre: Hip-Hop & Rap - Southern / Artist: Mike Jones / Enhanced / Audio CD released 2007-11-20 at Reprise „
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"The American Dream" is the EP from Mike Jones, a rapper born and raised in Houston, Texas. It was released by his new record label, Ice Age Entertainment in late 2007. This EP was originally planned to be released in 2006-2007 but, it was delayed because of its poor sales of "Mr. Jones", his first EP from the album and it was originally planned to be an album, but instead his second album will b e released later on in the year
"The American Dream" will be released as a film as well. This will featured Mike Jones, playing himself in a biopic of his early rap career. He will tell us what's its like to come out of Houston as a rapper, and show how he entered the game.
This album shows clearly that the the strength of the the '3rd Coast' of Hip Hop, Dirty South, with Bun B, Slim Thug and Paul Wall all appearing alongside the artist, but we also have one of the best from the West, with Snoop Dogg laying down a few lines on a track on here.
1. "Turnin' Headz"
I really enjoy listening to this as it is the perfect example of Houston's distinct style of rap which cannot be confused with any other. It is slowed right down and it's lyrics are focussed on the only thing that t important in those regions, impressing everyone around.
Jones explains how is now able to attract everyone with his new found fame and to celebrate this, he splashes-out on expensive whips, chains, and diamonds in his grill. This is quite like "Back Then", on his first album (also found on here), where his transformation is described from his early days to now.
2. "My '64" (feat. Bun B & Snoop Dogg)
This without a doubt is the best track that the artist has ever made. I have to give a lot of credit to the producer, Salih Williams, who must have been a main influence of creating this track.
The second track, "My 64", also the second to be released from the album, samples Eazy E's "Boyz-n-the-Hood", which was made in 1988. It was written by Ice Cube, to be performed by Eazy, because originally he wasn't supposed to rap whilst he stood as a N.W.A. member. Some of Eazy's original vocals appear on "My 64" the track to give it an old-school feel to it.
The '64' in this track refers to the 1964 Chevorlet Impala, which Eazy E rapped about for a long while as he cherished it as his prized car-orientated possession. This car is one that you will commonly see in the West Coast of America customized to be a lowrider.
The purpose was to bring a track to unite the West Coast and the Dirty South since there is a lot of tension in Hip Hop between the South and the East Coast in particular. Snoop Dogg's role improves this relationship. The track has obviously taken lot of influence from the productions of Dr. Dre, and I'd say that Salih Williams has made a great attempt of re-creating this. Lil' Eazy E, Eazy E's eldest son also aided in this track. In the music video for this he lip-syncs his deceased fathers lines, his appearance is very similar to E's, so it works well.
Bun B is currently of of my favourite rappers, and so I feel that his prescence in the track completes it. The delivery of the lyrics forces you to love his style that can be only summed up as 'trill' (true and real) .
3. "Mr. Jones"
This was the first single from "The American Dream" and it displayed Jones' change in rhyming from the "Who Is Mike Jones?" as he made the transformation to be more conventional in his rhymes than he was previously. I felt that it showed clear progress for him and shows that he is willing to make alterations in his style in order to move on as an artist in the Hip Hop world.
The main theme of this is that Mike Jones is a giant force in the world and nobody will be able to compete this him so it isn't worth attempting to battle with him. It acts as a great follow-on from the album which preceded it because it shows how the money from double platinum LP improved his life to this point.
4. "Like What I Got"
This sounds to be an experimental track as the beat, made by Salih Williams, is rather strange and it sounds to be some kind of space-related futuristic sounds which make up the beat, it wasn't nice to listen to at all, so I found little to praise in this record.
It is clear why this is the only track on the EP which wasn't released as a single, because it is shockingly bad, so if you are wanting to get this EP for the extra record which wasn't found on any of the singles, then it just isn't worth it, because it is of low quality in comparison to the rest.
5. "Still Tippin'"
This track is one of my favourite ones, from him the main reason for this is because the genre was new to me when I heard it. This originality lead me to listen to more of his music as it was something new to experiment with.
The song is quite slow and shows the attitude of Houston is extremely laid-back, they are not interested in following the current trends in rap, of speeding it up so that it gains lots of air-play. I liked how this was done, because with his Texas twang, the fast-tempo songs just don't suit this accent. He has obviously taken this into consideration. possibly the style was experimented with for a while. As much of the Houston rap is slow, and they will all have been exposed to the same way of speaking, the pioneers of Houston rap will have worked this out a while ago and now the popular trend has continued to this generation.
This was his debut and the video for it really opened my eyes to what 'the ghetto' is like in modern society, because most of that stereotypical New York projects life has passed. In Houston 'the ghetto' is just an extremely poverty-stricken area in, (in America). Its amazing that he was able to do the broke-to-bling transformation coming from the place he came from. The video was full of young black men just enjoying what they have in life and what makes them feel happy, Mike Jones didn't care about showing us all his famous friends in the original video because he wanted to show us the real Houston first.
6. "Back Then"
This one is one of my favourites. The title is "Back then thy didn't want me, now I'm hot, they're all on me." This refers to this journey to stardom; beginning without being able to get women now it isn't a challenge at all. It seems that he isn't bothered that they are only interested because of his money, because of the way he performs the track. Then again its not as if you would care, because now he has all the female attention he desires.
He also makes it clear that it isn't due to any outside alterations that the amount of women he sees has gone up as he tells us he's the same size now as he was when he began, and he is quite stocky in build.
This one is very slow and it is a clear indication that he is able to relax in his life now. The music speaks for him as now he feels he has done all the hard work of breaking through to a wider audience, now the rest will just come to him.
In conclusion this is a very good collection of tracks by Mike Jones, although it uses material that we had only just finished with from "Who Is Mike Jones?', making it slightly repressive, it still acts as a great build-up for his next full-length album, "Voice Of The Streets" which will be released later on in the year.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Turning Headz
2 My 64 - Bun B, Mike Jones, Snoop Dogg
3 Mr. Jones
4 Like What I Got
5 Still Tippin' - Mike Jones, Slim Thug, Paul Wall
6 Back Then
7 Mr. Jones [*][Multimedia Track]
8 My 64 [*][Multimedia Track]
Disc #2 Tracklisting