The Bottom Line
This album is dark, abstract and it's amazing display of deep emotions through sharp lyricism.
The title of the album hits the mark of the feeling you get when listening to it.
I went into listening to this album having heard all of Ja'King's public releases. I knew that he was a super dope lyricist with a darkness to his writing which is right up my alley. On the flip side, Javi Darko was 100% new to me. After listening to Fear and Loathing In Long Island a few times, I had to go back and find some of Javi's older work because he can rap.
It's hard to put a finger on it but this album gives off a feeling. The production has this haunting sound to it and there a few jazzy beats here and there that really adds to the eerie atmosphere.
One of my favorite tracks on the album is There's a Lady In The Woods. It's a song about them taking mushrooms in the woods and rapping about what their experiencing. They take turns rapping a few bars and in the middle of the song, there's beat switch it's done to perfection:
Ja'King: You need to chill out, in fact I think I need to peel out / I'm witnessing the shadow of Lillith ripping her eyes out. Javi: I'm witnessing a woman in the bushes staring dead in my soul / sensing everything, I'm letting them fold, the psychedlic and dro / hitting my system by the minute / she approaches and started askin are we having any visions?– There's a Lady In The Woods
In a lot of ways, this duo between Ja'King and Javi reminds me of Eminem and Royce Da 5'9'. Their both excellent wordsmiths but their approach in showcasing their skills are different. Ja'King is the more lyrical and gritty of the two and Javi is the more abstract and humorous. They both have a darkness to their writing and they both have a very similar flow. I'm not sure if they are friends in real life, but they definitely have a chemistry that is undeniable.
One major aspect that benefited this album is the length. The duo nailed it on Fear and Loathing In Long Island. It clocks in at a little over a half and hour. With this kind of subject matter and lyrically dense writing, it's easy to get burnt out on a project that's too long. Even as someone who appreciates dense lyrics, projects span over the course of an hour tend to lose me an I doubt I'm alone in saying that. Regardless, I think they did a great job of keeping it short and sweet.
Even though I think Ja'King is the superior rapper at the moment, Javi was the standout on this project and he had some of my favorite verses:
Javi: Nostradamus off a shot of ayahuasca, I'm a prophet / who be plotting on suicide bombing the congress / promise nobody want a problem with Javi / I cop me a oujia board and I started speaking to shinigamis– The Crazy Never Die
It would be a disservice to end the review without talking about the closing track "Unwavering Fear". This track shows Ja'King and Javi going deep, deep, deep into their trauma and past tribulations. Checkout these words from Ja'King's verse:
Caged birth be mentioning(?), engulfed in his rage / seen a n**** hold a gauge, to my mothers face, it would harbor my brain / thoughts of a slave, coughing my lungs, drinking dirty s*** / malested in my youth, depression threw me the opiates / coped with older b******, blind leading the blind / thinking back to the time I got the facts my brother would die / can't understand it, fam left me with issues broken, abandoned / using xanax to escape off the edge of the ledge, stranded / my lady killed my baby, it makes me hate you so differently / mistakes will teach you gratitude, why my father don't cherish me?– Unwavering Fear
When artists are willing to be open about stuff like this, it makes the music that much more impactful. Respect to both of them.
- The Ghosts of Gilgo Beach
- Malibu Booze Binge
- There's a Lady In The Woods
- Unwavering Fear
This project has everything an underground rap fan would hope for. Humor, darkness, lyrical density and most importantly, it doesn't drag on for over an hour. Ja'King The Divine is one of my new favorite artists and everything he releases is a must listen for me. Javi has gained a new fan in me as well. These two are a hell of a duo and I hope to hear more from them.