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Mr. Miranda & Jimmy Nelson: The J & D Experience EP

TItle: The J & D Experience EP

Basics: More YAFI hip hop? I could get used to this. This EP was passed along to me by resident PHX hip-hop expert Mike Meyer, so I knew I was in for something decent -- if not actually good. Well, you know what? Miranda and Nelson are just that -- good. In fact, I would go as far as to call these two talented. That talent comes through on their 9-song EP The J & D Experience. I might take issue with calling something containing nine songs an "EP," but that's probably my biggest complaint about the Experience. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Best Song: It won my heart with a favorite movie quote, but "Shine" is also an all around solid song. It's got a mellow, Spanish (or Portuguese, I can't quite tell) samba sample as an opening, and it only builds from there. Ariano sings a pretty decent hook with Miranda and Nelson holding their own with their respective verses. The song isn't in your face, loud declarative hip hop -- it's a smooth, well laid out piece of music that shows how multifaceted hip hop can be. Oh, the movie quote -- it's one of my favorite lines from the 1992 classic White Men Can't Jump. "What am I supposed to do, eat it?"

Worst Song: It's ambitious as fuck, I'll tell you that, but "Lonely At The Top" has some pretty awful lyrics. The song's ragtime piano is reminiscent of the 2000 Jurassic 5 track "Jurass Finish First." Miranda and Nelson don't have Cut Chemist on their side, but "Lonely At The Top" still manages to amaze with its beat. That is all, however, undone the lyric, "I can take a trip up to Philly to uppercut Rocky / Your body's too sloppy / Your flow is too choppy / We will never be friends like a Jew and a Nazi." I just couldn't get into rhyming "choppy" and "sloppy" with "nazi," as creative as it may be.

Suggestions: Release a full length. The J & D Experience was a solid enough effort that I'm sure many are clamoring for more of this collaboration between Mr. Miranda and Jimmy Nelson. As well, I would be careful with the guest spots. Sometimes that works out well, sometimes it can put the breaks on a song real quick. However, I came across this EP digitally -- as it is only available that way -- and I appreciate keeping things digital like that. You can hear The J & D Experience in its entirety at Mr. Miranda and Jimmy Nelson's Bandcamp.

Grade: B+

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

Michael Lopez
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix , AZ 85034

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Michael Lopez