Jus Daze: Walk Twice As Hard (Self Released)
Available from Nov 2013
A rapper with genuine insecurities and no macho bluster? Andy Carrington admires the poetry of Jus Daze.
Jus Daze isn’t afraid to talk about emotional insecurities in his music. He’s a human being, after all, but his honesty to talk about what he views as his personal failings – without the false pretentiousness of a rap persona – is most sincere and admirable.
This is the second album from Daze that I’ve had the pleasure of hearing (I reviewed his joint-EP with DJ Brown 13 earlier this year) and I have to say his music really strikes a chord with me. I don’t know Daze personally – I have never met or spoken to the guy in person – but I get the impression he’s one hell of a determined individual from the music he puts out.
Don’t get me wrong, Walk Twice As Hard isn’t some soppy, self-obsessed bullshit – it’s just real (“I used to weigh 500 pounds plus/ I walked with a cane/ Plus I did a lot of drugs,” (Same Struggle)). First Step is another track that really grabs you with its honesty, with Daze spitting reminiscently about growing up with a severe bow leg stance (“I was born with a deform/ But that’s why I perform/ With a level above the norm/ And beyond.”); while Here For A Reason follows on, with him talking about adulthood, finding his independence and wanting to set a positive example.
The three tracks alone that I’ve mentioned already justify the aspirations of the album title and the Rocky Balboa inspired cover design (which, as a very keen Rocky fan, I had been anticipating great things from when I saw this project was first announced). Daze raps with a lot of heart. Despite his personal obstacles, he really believes he can go the distance and make a difference through his chosen profession.
And respect to the man for his aspirations ’cause this is an exceptionally well thought out piece of independent music. Lyrically, a lot of time and effort has gone into album, from the personal battles that Daze has had with himself to be able to vent what he feel needs to be vented (as a poet, I can relate); and the accessibility of his output, which connects with the listeners and stays clear of becoming too self absorbed.
Daze never tries to be some gangsta rapper or the “The World’s Strongest Hero” (Superman’s Dead); rather, he comes across as a man amongst the people. As well as his drug confessions and “deformity”, Walk Twice As Hard deals with lost love (365 Daze Love Letters), the less serious idea of “partying” (I Made It) and the belief that hard work justifies rewards (Whatever Happens Happens, which sees Daze at his most furious).
Another stand-out track, To Die For, was written for all those searching for some sort of purpose in their lives. As well as telling personal tales, Daze inspires us to ask questions of our own lives– where we’re going and what we hope to achieve. He commands the mic with a relaxed, though seemingly agitated, oxymoronic flow, which makes the listening experience even more intriguing.
Musically, there’s a lot to be admired here, too. Zombie samples The Cranberries – and does so in true, Hip Hop head nodding fashion; while Fallen Star opts for the blues/soft rock route, which complements the contemplative mood of Daze’s personal stories very well.
The samples on the track Comfort Of Comforters are a little distracting for my liking (I would’ve preferred just the raw drumbeat), but that’s a small criticism on an otherwise very well rounded effort. Truth be told, I really fucking love this record for the way it speaks to me (and if that uncontrollable outburst of admiration negates my “professionalism” as a critic, so be it). I’m telling you this because, like Daze, I love music and I’m trying to be an honest citizen, after all.