New musical ideas on ‘Die Hater 2.0’ dampened by disclaimers, tired conventions

One day I was walking home from work on Bergen Avenue when a young man tried to sell me his CD. I replied, “Actually, I’m the entertainment reporter for The Jersey Journal” and he reacted like I said, “Actually, I’m here to tell you that you’ve won a million dollars.”

I wrote a profile on Jersey City rapper Jae Claude in September and wrote a review of his EP, “Die Hater 2.0,” which I published today on NJ.com.

New musical ideas on ‘Die Hater 2.0’ dampened by disclaimers, tired conventions

Jersey City rapper Jae Claude doesn’t really know who he is yet, but he doesn’t admit that on his latest release, “Die Hater 2.0: The World’s Most Dangerous EP 2011,” since being self-assured is key in the rap world.

When Jae Claude is genuinely bold, he’s great – he puts an interesting explosive emphasis on the last syllables of his lines and has some other good musical ideas. A lack of variation and conviction, however, cripple even the strongest tracks.

The rapper takes too much time explaining himself – literally. He gives long disclaimers instead of expressing himself through his music and owning his lyrics. Jae Claude often seems to forget he’s a rapper, not a talker.

For example, several of the tunes have offensive racist, homophobic and sexist lyrics, especially “Hip Hop is Gayz,” which is being promoted with bright pink stickers all over Hudson County. The song is preceded by a 30-second disclaimer that basically says, “I’m using the word ‘gay’ like it means ‘lame.’ I don’t really hate gay people,” albeit in a rather clumsy way.

But then he gets into the song and says, “Mad haters trying to tag me homophobic/’cause I want my ass—- to stay 101-year-old virgin/f— that, I got mad gay friends/mad female gay friends/and when they feel cold in December/they come over with they lovers.”

He then says he has sex with the lesbians, implying that he only befriends gay women willing to be part of his two-girls-one-guy fantasy.

That sexism resurfaces in the track, “That Face is Ugly,” which degrades an unattractive woman which has lines like, “She makes Precious look like Halle Berry.”

The “EP” (which, let’s be honest, at 12 full-length tracks is basically an album) falters when Jae Claude falls into the rap conventions of “I get girls, I get money, I’m so much cooler than you” instead of focusing on where he can be more musically innovative, like on standout tracks like the refreshingly humble “Liquor Wasted.”

The tune features his melodic lament, “I keep forgetting/Damn, I keep forgetting/All the things I already know,” and his vow to rise above adversity.

Check out a mini-movie for the opening track of “Die Hater 2.0,” called “Drop That S—.”

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About Summer Dawn Hortillosa

Summer Dawn Hortillosa is a journalist specializing in arts and entertainment. Among other things, she is also an award-winning playwright, director, singer-songwriter and actress. Her work has been seen in The Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal and other publications.
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One Response to New musical ideas on ‘Die Hater 2.0’ dampened by disclaimers, tired conventions

  1. thewho1971 says:

    Typical. Like a lot of rappers they rely on the standard cliches instead of writing something more meaningful probably because they have this hood image to uphold. Reminds me of a verse from “New Song” by The Who where Roger sings “I sing the same old song with a few new lines and everybody wants to cheer it”. Here its rapping the same old rap with a few new words.

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