J.D. & O.L. is a rap duo from Memphis Tennessee. They strive on delivering a unique sound and sending a conscious message. Today, we are going to be doing a review of their song The Campaign.
At it’s core, The Campaign is a raw east coast track with a heavy Afro-Beat and Hardcore Rap influence. The track starts with a comedic mock of the song Type Of Way by Rich Homie Quan. Then it goes directly into the main loop of the song which is an electric guitar chord melody. Right when the beat drops J.D. starts his rapid fire verse full of battle rap lyrics and dope punchlines bringing that raw underground rap energy.. He touches on topics such as oil spills in the gulf, oppression of businesses owned by African Americans, and what he is willing to bring to the plate to come out on top. After a quick interlude, next up on the mic is O.L., matching the previous energy of J.D. He brings rapid fire with violent battle lyrics threatening and warning his opponent that he is not to be reckoned with, The song ends with the beat playing out and an added brass section to bring out more of the Afro-Beat influence. The track consists of various vocal samples from James Brown to Charlie Chaplin amplifying the overall energy of the song.
The biggest factor in the success of this song is the energy it carries. It’s meant to get you hyped up. This is why it has to sound raw and fast paced, similar to the Wu Tang style of rap. We call this lyrical martial arts.The overall sense of oppression, control, and ‘fight for your rights’ mentality lets you feel what the protagonist is feeling and understand that with their backs against the wall, they must fight their way out. What other choice do they have. Both J.D. and O.L. do well at portraying the aggression and charisma of this type of character in this song. And the music fits the overall style as well carrying a lo-fi sample based feel combined with Afro-Beat rhythms and funky Afro-Beat sounds such as the brass instrument at the end. The samples are just the icing on the cake, making the song fun and glued together.
While this track fits in exactly where it should, there are a few things that could have a made a better listening experience. One main thing was the high frequency content in the vocals. Yes, it is normal and common to have a very lo-fi mix to these types of tracks, and the overall mix nailed this. But it appears the high frequency content in the vocals was overly boosted causing strong hissing sounds at every S consonant making it kinda weird to listen to, it was so over-boosted that the Ss almost sound like they aren’t part of the vocals, like it’s just a random hiss that plays over the song. The only other weakness is on the flow of the verses. Both verses were well constructed and packed a punch, however there were a few spots that were a little rushed or out of rhythm with the beat. But this isn’t necessarily a huge weakness since this track is made to be raw and gritty, but it can mess up the overall flow of the song as the listener is getting into it, they can be thrown off by a simple out of rhythm part.
Overall, this track serves it’s purpose and does a great job at matching the topic with the energy, and the energy with the sound. I enjoyed it mostly other than the weaknesses mentioned above. Given the style this track represents, I believe it hit the spot exactly how it should’ve.
If you would like to hear more of J.D. & O.L.’s music, and stay updated with further releases, follow them on Soundcloud and other social media platforms below.