Well, well, well. . . the frat boys have arrived. I thought I would utterly abhor hip hop artists Jutes’ monumental collection, Space Highway. While I did not particularly love it, nor do I often even go for this kind of music, listening to the album was at least an amusing experience. Jutes is a Toronto-based charismatic performer who has claims of being a stand-apart artist in the rap music scene. With Space Highway as his first full-length album, the audience can test this statement for themselves.
First on the track list is ‘Space Highway’, the title of song being where the album indubitably got its namesake. It is successful in opening the listener to the attitude of the rest of the album. Songs usually either send a message or tell a story of some kind – particularly a word-heavy song like a rap song. This one in particular tells a story that seems to be somewhat symbolic of him. ‘Won’t Remember’ is the second song and there isn’t anything particularly special about this song to set it apart from other songs of this genre, so it’s a decent enough fit not to lead or end with it. Party-hardy songs are usually popular and are the highlights of the album, but this song doesn’t feel like a party. At least, it’s not the fun, inclusive kind of party, it feels more like a guy from work telling you about the “wild weekend” he had.
The first two songs didn’t leave a strong enough impression on this album, though the audience may find ‘The Wilson’, featuring Rubber Buzzard, more amusing. The first vibe it let off with was a Dennis the Menace feeling. The story itself is pretty funny – the idea of gathering all of your buddies and going to your neighbour’s vacant house and having a party. You know, a more grown-up version of the shenanigans Dennis would have done at Mr. Wilson’s house. Well, despite that initial aspect that drew me in the first place, the songs on this album are all starting to sound the same.
‘Mr. Apologetic’ comes around and seems to give the album a more serious, meaningful tune. The deeper subject matter presents a refreshing change to the album’s attitude, but I think this artist’s forte rests in comedy.
Following up is ‘Fresh Air’, which has a character of its own that I can appreciate, though what it was saying was somewhat lost to me. It’s broken up in verses that flow beautifully in themselves. Next is ‘Hit the Sky’ and I disliked the tune for sounding just like every other rap song. The song expresses his journey to striving to get to the top as he struggles with a fear of failure (which can be identified with for being very human). Aside from the connection the audience may be able to feel, this story isn’t very original and has been told by many other artists.
‘Your Guy’ presents the quintessential boy-meets-girl story which can strike anyone as being very cliché. Though it’s a message that appeals to a sizeable audience, it comes across as a musical cop-out. ‘End of Time’ certainly presents one of the more unique themes of the album and the take on perspective is different and refreshing. However, the perspective of the song chances and the persona comes across as an asshole, probably for satirical purposes.
Overall, I did not see much of a difference with this rapper and from others – he never really steps out of mediocrity. Actually, it goes to remind me why I tend to stay away from the genre altogether.
For more on Jutes, visit his website.