A genius who is more than prepared for the forthcoming mission
Even though much of hip-hop these days is homogenized, there is a greater awareness of the diversity this music can offer if you know where to look. Canadian hip-hop comes and goes within the consciousness of hip-hop fans in the U.S., although people want to know who is doing great work from up there.
I've known Jesse Dangerously for what seems like ages, although we've never met, always been a mailing list here, some e-mails there, a "how about we collaborate on a few tracks?" here, a "how about you add more bass to this?" there. In the last few years he has been putting a lot of work into his musical career, and the rest of North America has yet to discover what he's about. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, sit down and make yourself at home while I pop in Jesse's new album, Verba Volta.
The thing about white rappers is that by default, people are out to look for more stereotypes from what people in some circles call a stereotype to begin with. What I will say is that his style and flows have developed and continue to evolve, he doesn't seem like someone who wants to remain comfortable in his own clothes, even though his trademark tie is what impresses the ladies.
Away from the hype, Jesse has a sense of wit that is very much a part of his character, not only as Mr. Dangerously but him as a person. He puts a lot of himself into his music, and when he's about being crafty, articulate, snappy, cranky, or touches on a few topics he holds close to his heart, he puts his all into it. He's not a notebook rapper, he's someone who is like the "Liquid Swords" video, where lyrics seem to pour out endlessly, and if he's not feeling it, he'll toss it out. Others are hungry for that wit and creativity, but Jesse will point to that piece of paper and it will burn.
There's a great energy on this album, and even if you've heard his previous work, he goes beyond that and comes off with songs about friendships, love, honor, and respect. Yeah, it might sound corny in text form but then again if that truly reads as corny, you really haven't been listening to any hip-hop in the last few... well, ever. Jesse is a scholar of the music, and if there's a reference that might be too obscure, he has producers Fresh Kils and Timbuktu to back him up and take him to the next verse with ease.
Can he be quriky? Sure, but again that's another white MC stereotype. Can he be "out of touch"? It depends on what you're touching. Look at the surface, then look and dig deeper. What you will find is Jesse Dangerously, one of the more original voices not only in Canadian hip-hop, but hip-hop as a whole. He's not afraid to be funny (and yes, you will laugh), and yet this isn't a joke. Again, if energetic hip-hop is what you seek, this is it.