Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O
“I’m a west coast behemoth that you ain’t never heard of before.”
Jurny Big spits this in a quick intro before the track “HisShoes,” from the new album The Change-Up, by the duo The Battery. Other than this being a dope line, I laughed when I listened to this because it was completely true for me. Before this record I was completely ignorant of The Battery, Jurny Big and even most of the history of the Tunnel Rats. As disappointing as my ignorance was, I believe a large portion of CHH shares the same ignorance. Most CHH fans I have come into contact with and have talked to, are not familiar with the Tunnel Rats, Jurny Big and Peace 586 (which makes the previous all the better).
Well the time for ignorance is over. Jurny Big is a pioneer of this genre and has been in the game since the early 90’s. He co-founded the legendary and groundbreaking group The Tunnel Rats, he was also apart of other extremely talented groups, LPG and The Battery (who he currently is apart of with producer Peace 586). And now, even though he has been rapping longer than some CHH fans have been alive, he’s back with the aforementioned Peace 586 as the Battery, with their new project The Change Up. This is the third record the duo has done since 2011 and they don’t seem to be slowing down at all.
If you are a Tunnel Rats fan, then you are very familiar with what Jurny brings to the table as an artist. If you are like I was, then this record will be a revelation to you because Jurny Big is a beast on the mic. There is no other way to put it. He has a command of his flow, the beat and the art of lyricism in a nearly unmatched way. He throws together combinations of words that are nothing short of flawless. Each track on The Change Up is just an opportunity to showcase his insane ability.
This is a dream record for a hip-hop head, because it has all the elements that hip-hop heads love. The focus of the record is Jurny’s lyricism. It also has the traditional hip-hop elements in it, such as scratching, sampling and head nodding production. The Change Up is like an ode to the classic hip-hop that most of us fell in love with.
The production for this record is also very strong. The heavy lifting on this part of the record is done by producer Peace 586. It ran complimentary to Jurny’s rhymes and gave the support that he needed. It never really stole the show (until the end of the record when you can listen to all of the instrumentals), but provided the perfect backdrop for this record and, the lyricism in particular, to shine. The sound of the production is more of a gritty hip-hop feel for the most part. There isn’t any singing on hooks or any up-tempo beats. It is just gritty hip-hop and it sounded beautiful.
Another strong aspect of this record is the message that is carried behind the music. Jurny Big talks openly on the record about being a rapper that is a Christian, so the message behind his music is not as overt as others but the message was still very strong. As a Christian, it was encouraging to hear an artist so creatively gifted, rap about God and weave it into his life experiences. The Change Up adds a much needed style to the genre and it builds the body in a very important way.
All together, this record is a very good record. It’s pure hip-hop and lyricism at it’s best. Because of the legacy that Junry Big has created and the amazing talent that he still has, The Change Up is a must own record for everyone in CHH. Jurny is one of the best emcee’s the genre has ever seen and this is proof that he is still currently one of the best in the genre.