Ayatollah Jaxx is, simply put, a rapper’s rapper. He’s the people’s champ, he’s the MC that, if you’ve lived in America recently, you can absolutely relate to. While other rappers are trying to cater to a certain crowd, or celebrate a life that they ain’t living, A-Jaxx is spitting nothing but truth about the realities around us that we are actually facing on a daily basis, and with “Hello Hip Hop” he has done a brilliant job at that.
He starts right off with the title track that is a perfect introduction to the type of album that he delivers, full of life and knowledge and then flows right into “Ain’t It True”, which, when people talk positively about “conscious rap”, this is what they are referring to. “Shoe Horn” is one of the gems and with its short length and neck-breaking beat it reminded me of a Madvillain track, but with substance, which only made it better. Another jewel was “Coming of Age”, which had all the good qualities of a hip hop track, solid beat, sick samples, and a passionate MC telling his life story. A-Jaxx is unique in that every time you try to pinpoint his style, he shows you more diversity and you realize throughout this album that he can do it all, not many MCs have that ability. “Wha Gwan?!” is more of that neck-breaking material with A-Jaxx showing off his battle skills, and with lines like “kill me I’ll turn a whole religion against yall”, the kid can definitely hold his own when it comes to that tough talk. You got the honey tracks, “Bitter Sweet” and “Ms. 416”, the latter of which being one of the most beautiful hip hop love songs ever made, which again show diversity in topics from A-Jaxx. Overall the production on this album is phenomenal, from the soulfulness of “Deen Tight” and “Reflection” to the hypeness of “Street Hop” and the aforementioned “Wha Gwan”. There were also two tracks where the vocal sample completely clashed with the beat, but surprisingly the clash worked quite well and in the case of “Coming of Age” resulted in one of the best tracks on the album.
The album isn’t all fire but even when it strays it still keeps you interested. “I Will Not Lose”, with its badly auto-tuned Kanye-interpolated hook wasn’t the best move, especially after denouncing auto-tune in the song before it, but the lyrical content of the track was still fire. The remix of “Street Hop” wasn’t as good as the original tagged on at the end and “Probably Wack” was more of the same hating on the mainstream stuff that we’ve been hearing too much in hip hop. However “This Is For That Radio” is EXACTLY the type of shit we needed someone to say so A-Jaxx does know how to tackle the subject right. Also, “Pain”, at first I wasn’t feeling the idea, being a reboot of one of the greatest Pac tracks of all time, but after a couple listens I realized that the topic being touched was such a modern day reality that rarely, if ever, gets addressed and it made the track so deep. He straight up gave us an updated version of the Pac joint, and it was dope.
All together, “Hello Hip Hop” is a masterpiece of an album, with not just something for everyone, but everything for everyone. Ayatollah Jaxx is a rapper who lives a real life and is able to paint a picture of that life so vividly that you truly get pulled into his world. Only a handful of MCs have that power and A-Jaxx is one of them. He touches on every subject with the classic hip hop feel while incorporating the most modern day raps I’ve heard in a while. Aside from a couple missteps which in turn make this album a little lengthy, you have a classic album from someone who is definitely ready and deserving of some shine in this game. 4/5