Cincinnati rapper Juice Lee presents his fourth studio release The Reverie.
No stranger to the nerdcore scene Juice Lee has performed on the sames stages as Mega Ran, SkyBlew, and D&D Sluggers, he has also opened for numerous mainstream Hip Hop acts, including The Roots, Aceyalone and Talib Kweli. When he’s not behind the mic he also presents a weekly geekly podcast, “Darkfyre Entertainment,” with co-hosts Nyte and Leago.
The Reverie is an eight track release which dropped in late November and hits the ground running with a brief but solid opening track that shares the album’s title. Dramatic yet uplifting Lee exhibits confidence and fine timing in his lyrical delivery. Sampling Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Scales picks up the pace with lyical commentary on the creative process and the aspirations and pitfalls of being an indie rapper.
Offering an orchestral introduction with tight snares and splashy cymbals Lightning Strikes Twice is poignant and complex. Guitars fill out the sound of this epic sounding track and the message is uplifting. Melodie J provides a melodic chorus on I Need You, a steady track that allows Juice Lee to bounce his raps confidently across its surface. XP is a more rugged affair vocally, musically, 80s sounding guitars and brass hits permeate a busy sound with complex beats.
Goodbye is another inspirational track promoting a positive mental outlook. Musically in-keeping with the rest of the release yet suffering somewhat from dragging on a little at almost five minutes long without ever really changing pace or flow. At the other end of the scale If I Never Wake times in at under two minutes. As with much of the album there’s a whimsical nature to this penultimate track which tones down the instrumentation to something of an incidental nature.
Technically a bonus track (bonus over what? Is there another version of the release with no bonus?) the album plays out with Con-Soul a tribute to growing up with video games with plenty of references for fans of retro titles to present releases.
The Reverie is a very competent release that sounds unlike the vast majority of recent indie and nerdcore releases. There’s a ton to enjoy here if you like a mix of sounds from decades past with current hip-hop sensibilities, but it won’t be for everyone so I recommend streaming first before committing to buy.
The Reverie is available to download now via bandcamp for $7.