Jawa

Lost in the Ways 12-inch single
(Universatile Music)

One of the things that's great about local hip-hop artist Jawa is that he doesn't give a crap about mainstream success. He could have had it -- Priority Records had him working with artists like Brian McKnight and Method Man in the mid-'90s -- but he didn't like being told what to do, and split to stay underground. Jawa often raps about his disdain for shallow lyrics and superficial rappers, but the title track here, "Lost in the Ways," addresses the subtle suppression of America through corporate control and marketing: "It ain't a phase men are lost in the ways/Wicked and crooked, 365 days/Women and men, give me your hand/Or your soul gets stole like Indian land." The whole track is full of off-the-hook lyrical flows and a steady beat, and there are three versions on the A-side: the street, radio, and beat edits. The flip side of the record contains street and beat edits of the songs "Misery" and "Tentacles," produced by local scenesters Foundation (Drunken Immortals) and Skip Skoolnik (Vinyl Rockers). This solid single, full of funky rhythms and sociopolitical lyrics, would be good wax to work into any hip-hop DJ's collection.

 
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