Indie (February 14, 2012)
Review by Aidan Severs
Whatchu know about Jeremiah Bonds? He’s a Syntax Records artist and he works with their parent company Quality Junk. He has featured on volumes three, four and five of the compilation series Night Owls as well Syntax Records’ own compilation Wages of Syntax Volume 2. He dropped his own mixtape Customer Development back in 2009. Now he’s back with American Idolatry.
Don’t call it a mixtape; it’s a street album. That means it’s raps over someone else’s beats and it’s not mixed. But it’s more than that – it’s properly crafted songs, re-sung choruses and all. Some of the tracks are even re-imaginings of the original song’s concept. The chosen beats are a real mixed bag but it’s this variety that keep the listener glued to the set, it’s this beat selection which makes this, at a cursory listen, hugely entertaining. The poppy moments are possibly the stand-outs as Paradox joins in on “In The Black” (over Madcon’s “Beggin'”), Sivion and Karruzza provide vocals for “Blackout” (a re-working of “You Know I’m No Good” by the late Amy Winehouse) and AB-IV features on “Bout My Business” (originally Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire”). Having said that, beats like Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones Pt. 2”, Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit A” and Obie Trice’s “Don’t Come Down” are more than welcome.
The project has a very strong concept which is never dropped – Jeremiah Bonds takes common myths that are being pushed in certain Christian circles and dissects them deftly from a biblical standpoint. Often the (very) short skits point the direction for the following tracks; misconceptions about suffering, work, money, emotions, relationships, success, pride and self centered-ness all get the rap. Despite Jeremiah Bonds’ fairly monotone rap style, his skilful lyrics and faultless cadence make for engaging listening.
The guest list on American Idolatry is fairly substantial – Paradox, Freddie Bruno, Sivion, muzeONE and Believin’ Stephen all put in work amongst others. Of all the visiting speakers Deepspace5 members Sintax the Terrific and Sev Statik make the most impact. The former raps wryly about writing guest verses on “Work Hard” whilst the latter laments lazy listeners on “Back To The Hook”.
Despite the fact that American Idolatry is not 100% original material, Jeremiah Bonds has made these tracks his own and created a piece of work which stands up to many repeated listens – unusual for an album of this kind. The well-executed concept and the excellent musical selection make this project hard to knock. The serious subject matter is made palatable, no, more than that, entertaining – a great achievement which is sure to see success – I’m already looking forward to more material and more listens to this one.