I think people’s wit should be measured in Jean Graes. Like a Richter scale of smart-ass. A Fujita scale of sarcastic charm. Jean Grae is not an X-Man, rather, an upper echelon MC, who happens to be a ruggedly cute, tatted-up spitress, and is as Jean Graeish as they come. Follow her on Twitter, you’ll see. Or listen to her music. You’ll understand. And if you don’t, it’s because you don’t have a lot of JeanGraeosity.
I was privileged to hang out with Jean Grae, (previously named one of our “Reasons Why NY Hip Hop Doesn’t Suck,”) at the last Props to Hip Hop event at Sullivan Hall, in December. I was a judge, casting my judgmental spell over a plethora of MCs and a live band as they paid tribute to the iconic hip hop songs birthed by the five boroughs of New York City. Ms. Grae also held court, and in our brief but memorable (for me anyway) time in the fancy VIP cubbyhole, was as witty and sparkling a personality as one might imagine she would be.
Though taller than one would think.
Gotta be the shoes.
Or my relative insignificance.
I’ll go with ‘the shoes.’
(Figure that last bit was worth maybe 7.3 Jean Graes.)
Anyway. You know she’s also odd, right? The offbeat femme fatale of hip hop, before it was cliche? Her Jean Graeism rising to a dazzling crescendo with her sonic return from hiatus, the DJ Drama-orchestrated Cookies or Comas. I’ve lamented during my hosting duties on the weekly NY hip hop talk show The NY Hip Hop Report that I was enthralled to see her story in a recent XXL magazine, yet mortified that it was not teased on the cover. It is because of this ongoing snub that I write with such fervor, in announcing her latest tease, Dust Ruffle: Songs I Found Under My Bed, a 10-track “lost tape” of sorts, a compendium of unreleased JeanGraedness spanning a roughly six year span (2004-2010).
The album, available for stream or purchase on Jean’s Bandcamp page, is well worth your eartime, and also lets us hear, as she herself has noted, her progression as an artist, to the point where she sits today, high atop my personal can’t-fucking-wait list for 2013.
And yay for the excuse to use my me-and-Jean-Grae picture for a post. I apologize for the graininess. And for the I-look-like-I’m-trying-to-be-a-proper-Englishman-but-I’m-not-and-that-would-be-stupid-and-glad-I-cropped-out-my-hand-cuz-it-was-positioned-weird thing I had going on there.