Well over a decade into producing and performing hip hop here in Maine, Jay Caron still has a few tricks up his sleeve. The producer/DJ (Educated Advocates, etc.) turned in an entertaining sidebar with Mike Be as co-MC in Ock Cousteau last year and now takes on solo frontman duties as one-half of Jay Caron & Slop, who released an eight-song album last week.
A cohesive work of production from Slop, wrapped up in old soul and R&B samples, with plenty of horn and Motown vocal lines, Slow Motion is something of a coming-out party for Caron, featuring a number of introspective, first-person lyrics about "Getting Older" (meaning he's over 30 — don't trust him) and reflecting on past decisions.
In the general mold of alt-rap like De La Soul and Jurassic 5, Caron has a positive bounce to both his delivery and message. "I celebrate life," he declares on "In My Veins," and he has the air of a guy who whistled past the graveyard a time or two. "Don't Be That Type" is about as menacing as things get here, and that's because it's a cautionary tale: "a lot of cats are shady" (much like record company people). DJ Rew pulls scratch solos on both.
More typical are fun and laid-back tunes like the title track, where a jazz guitar greets us at the door and a heavy snare takes us through a two-ships-passing kind of tale until Boondocks adeptly scratches a vocal snippet in the finish. "You Two" is similarly filled with gal-fueled interior monologue that could be too intimate, depending on your tastes. Caron's not what you'd call guarded with the details.
He's honest and raw, though, and a song like "Fast Track to No Place" shows him to be thoughtful and empathetic. This is smart hip hop that sets an atmosphere. Don't go in expecting a rave up, but don't be surprised if you have a good time. ^
SLOW MOTION | Released by Jay Caron & Slop | jaycaron.bandcamp.com/album/slow-motion-ep