Saturday, August 28, 2010

Album Review: J.Nolan-Broken Dreams

The beats are infused with jazz and soul. The lyrics, with a maturity far beyond his 21 years. The flow is polished yet never dull. J.Nolan’s most recent project, Broken Dreams, is bursting with a hunger for more, but marks a serious step towards the goal that all rappers have, making it. J. Nolan is on track to do something big, as he says himself, “I’m just a young man trying to make history,” and he’s doing it the right way.
The flow and subject matter reflect a mixture of his North-Eastern roots, a few years spent in San Jose, and an Atlanta upbringing. At times sounding like a young Nas, Consequence, and Talib rolled into one, while still never losing his uniqueness, J.Nolan lyrics are a reflection of a young man growing up, and are a snapshot of a young rapper at this time of his life. Broken Dreams is heavy with situations and settings that most people our age are dealing with: pressures of growing up, decisions we make now which have lasting impacts, and young dreams.
Broken Dreams follows in a long line of hip hop albums that are influenced and guided by jazz. Like Guru’s Jazzmattazz series (RIP), Broken Dreams is heavy on jazz samples, a sound that J.Nolan has developed for the past year, with the help of a growing production team. Rare for a relatively unknown rapper, most of the beats on the album are on point, and producer No Alias makes beats on which J.Nolan’s super smooth flow finds a natural home. A student of delivery, rhyme schemes and patterns, J delivers quick-witted metaphors with ease while drawing on personal experiences and childhood memories.
J.Nolan contacted us while releasing his project, and I had the chance to talk to him about himself and his music.
Do you feel like you have made it? If not, at what point do you feel like you have made it?

I definitely have not made it, whatever "it" really is. I think I've done relatively well for someone that does all of my own promotion with little or no help from even my closest friends. I don't have a team behind me or any hot new clothing lines sponsoring my project, but there's people in every region of the world that know who I am. When I look at it that way, I've done something that many don't get a chance to do. However, I understand that I'm far from where I plan to take it. And that's what the people get from my music as well.

You mention your brother, your family, and being a role model to the kids. How important is family to you and your music?

Huge. My mother and I had a conversation when I told her I didn't plan on going to college to pursue music. I assured her that I had a plan to do it a certain way, which is the way I currently make my music. I don't curse in my lyrics, I don't speak on anything degrading towards women, I ultimately am the same person in music that my family knows me to be. I want all of my family to be completely proud of what I put out into the world to where they don't have to be ashamed to share it with others. 

On "Real or Not" you talk about how you liked Michael Jordan because of his jumpshot, nowadays the kids just like him for his money. Could you explain this line a little more. Is it because the kids don't know about his history? Or that they do, but now just admire him for his money, and not what he did on the court?

Indeed. Growing up, my friends and I were fans of sports for the sports themselves. It wasn't until we got older that we understood athletes were paid to play them. When we talked about Michael Jordan, it was about his skill set and statistics...athletic superiority in a nutshell. When kids talk about Jordan or someone like a Lebron James now, they can only talk about basketball for so long before they mention how much money they have. And I feel like it's affected the world in general. It's at a point where individual worth is determined by income. I don't know about anyone else, but my family and the people around me are valuable regardless of how much money they make. And the fact that kids can think that way makes me afraid of the future, because their parents are the ones teaching them these things. Whether it's directly or indirectly. Morals, principles, and ethics seem to have lost their luster.

Broken Dreams is real. From Track 1 to 18, J.Nolan raps about what he knows, his story, his life, his dreams. Support this young artist, this is music being made right. 

Download Album Here

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