ARTIST: Jim Jones
ALBUM: Pray IV Reign
SOUNDS LIKE: An older, wiser Capo.
FUN FACT: The controversial track "Frenemies" samples the 1983 Isley Brothers song "Ballad For The Fallen Soldier," which was also used on Jay-Z's 1998 Too $hort duet "A Week Ago."
WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING IT: There's no denying Jim Jones' affable personality, but his talent as a musician has never been able to get any real respect. Once thought of as Cam'ron's weed carrier, Capo has evolved over the last decade into a more viable mainstream artist than his one-time mentor. But while his first three albums featured one or two memorable singles and a smattering of unfocused filler, his Columbia Records debut Pray IV Reign shows that Complex's former cover star has way more up his sleeve...
He might never top "We Fly High" in terms of commercial success, but his Ron Browz-assisted anthem "Pop Champagne" came damn close this year. Regardless, Pray 4 Reign is about more than partying'each song shows an aspect of Capo's life, which allowed him to turn the album into a slice of musical theater last fall called The Hip-Hop Monologues: Inside the Life & Mind of Jim Jones. On "Pulling Me Back," he struggles with leaving the dangers of 'hood life behind, while on "My, My, My," he pays tribute to murdered rapper and friend Stack Bundles. Even the album's softer moments'"Precious" with Ryan Leslie and "This Is The Life" with Starr'Jones seems more focused than ever. Jones still has a ways to go before he starts making classic hip-hop albums, but Pray IV Reign is definitely a solid splash in the right direction.
KEY TRACKS (LISTEN):
"Album Intro" f/ Starr (Produced by No I.D.)
"How To Be A Boss" f/ Ludacris & NOE (Produced by Ron Browz)
"My, My, My" f/ Rawana (Produced by Chris Styles & Cylla)