Album / Artist Review by Joseph Timmons: IndiePulse Music Magazine
Artist: Jelani Lateef
Album: Cold Days and Dark Nights (official mixtape)
Release Date: January 15, 2016
Styles: Hip/hop, rap, soul, alternative
Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, rapper Jelani Lateef aka J Fury has a music career spanning more than a decade. Best known for his thought provoking lyrics and soulful brand of hip-hop, Jelani expanded from simply being a rapper to a producer and CEO. In 2011 Jelani started Manhood Ent., and released his first project, “My Soul to Keep”, in 2013. This project was followed up by “My Soul to Keep 2” in 2014, and most recently “Cold Days and Dark Nights” in 2015.
With each release, Jelani has garnered more critical acclaim. Album reviews in the Source, Allhiphip.com, Black Minds Magazine, and Rap Sheet among many other publications have acknowledged Jelani Lateef as a “breath of fresh air” in hip-hop music. Jelani’s music is often themed in overcoming obstacles and winning despite the odds. Fan favorites like “Forward Advance” and “Can’t Stop Now” showcase his brilliant wordplay and motivational message.
Entirely self-produced, except for the following 3 songs. “Stay Strong” and “In God’s Hands” produced by Deka Derse. “Flashback” produced by Joe “Omega Red” Tyse. “Stay Strong” and “In God’s Hands” feature guest vocals by reggae artist Fiyah Wayne. This is a 14 Track Musical and Lyrical Masterpiece, I am normally not a fan of Cursing and negative imagery, but this artist makes it work to drive his message home. however, there is so few instances of cursing that it is, in itself, an artistic moment in time between the lines.
With both a street tough, rough imagery and a refined sound, steeped in R&B overtones and respect for his heritage, Jelani Lateef has what it takes to bring his message home, with lyrics of self-elevation and staying far from the a-typical “Rapper-Flo” which creates the generic street hood style, Jelani Lateef is a new hybrid, a rapper with a conscious, moral and ethical integrity. As a man of color, this music speaks to me of the old school, dress to impress and educate one’s self, these are the words of those that fought and died for our rights to be free, and in a time where the world is overflowing with race hatred and sides being drawn, Jelani Lateef brings it, telling us that if you want respect, you have to respect yourself 1st.
The streets are hard, and you have to be harder to survive, but you don’t and should not be a thug, be a man. Jelani Lateef is that musical role model we have been waiting for, stunning style and a piercing voice speaking the truth that needs to be heard.
Learn more about Jelani Lateef, visit his sites, get his music, the struggle is real, and he’s got your back.