It’s no secret that Chicago is a hotbed of rap talent; Common, Lupe Fiasco and Chance the Rapper are just a few of the big names that hail from the Windy City. Having been brought up on the Southside of Chicago, upcoming lyricist Jelani Lateef knows he has a lot to live up to. But the rapper also known as J. Fury has been refining his craft over the past 10 years, developing a distinctive flow backed by meaty content. Another thing that sets Jelani a cut above his peers is the fact that he produces most of his own tracks. He even has his own imprint; Manhood Ent. which he launched in 2011.
Two years after opening his production house Jelani completed work on his first project ‘My Soul to Keep’. He followed up on this credible release with its sequel My Soul to Keep 2 in 2014. This 10-track recording established Lateef as a force to reckon with and let Chicago know she had yet another flow master within her borders. He proved himself unforgiving when he stepped to the mic and the soulful, old school beats complemented his hard-hitting punchlines like mustard on a hotdog. He had come up the long, hard way and he made no bones about letting his fans, friends and foes know, especially on tracks like the opener ‘In the Game Now’.
Having turned the heads of major hip hop publications such as The Source, Jelani dropped a mixtape a few months later, right at the beginning of 2015. This was how he chose to introduce his followers to ‘Cold Days and Dark Nights’. Introducing the 14-strong song set is ‘No Fear’ which describes the grind in a graphic way, encouraging wannabes to go hard or go home: “I’m from the city where little pity is shown to ya, if you can’t do it with no fear then don’t do it.”
There’s a bit of open-hearted reflection, even regret on ‘Look What You Done’ as Jelani recounts how he crushed the heart of some past love as he ran his game. The beat on this number sounds basic, reminding the listener of the instrumental that accompanied LL Cool J’s iconic ‘I Need Love’. Perhaps it’s so that you can focus on the deep thoughts J Fury is conveying about the pitfalls of using and misusing women. More of the challenges and obstacles he has had to overcome are laid bare in ‘In God’s Hands’, a track that features reggae artist Fiyah Wayne on the hook. There’s much more meat on the skeleton as regards to the beats in this cut.
In April 30 Jelani released Cold Days and Dark Nights as a full-length album that included an additional two songs. Show your commitment to real hip hop by adding this unheralded gem to your collection; download it from iTunes or Bandcamp. Packed with clever wordplay and lyrics that address real issues, you can be sure that the album will be just as entertaining and relevant 20 years from now as it is today.
Miami Based, Internationally Known