Mixtape Review: Barry Sanders X Ned Flanders

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Music is a very subjective matter. The beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. It should be considered an art form no matter what the genre or who the artist is. The mastering of any musical concept takes time, work and a boatload of skill. After listening to Barry Sanders x Ned Flanders by Jon M.A, I have to say that my appreciation for different feels in music was definitely affected.

This isn’t just another hip-hop mixtape, if you ask me. This was my introduction to Jon M.A as an artist and I have to say that I truly enjoyed it. From his witty lines to his diction to his high vocabulary, this was everything that he advertised it to be.

The description of the tape on datpiff.com reads as follows:

Jon M.A’s first full length project features an eclectic combination of sounds that maintain a consistent core of sonics to showcase Jon’s ability to maneuver through production with a smooth flow, witty lyrical ability, fresh concepts and emerging songwriting skill.

I have to say that everything in the above statement was certainly there–and then some. The various combinations of different sounds, flows, cultures and concepts was melted into a very solid first full project for Jon “Mass Appeal” as he calls himself on the tape.

It took time for the piece to grow on me while listening to it over the weekend. I’d say that it’s impossible to get a good feel on it only one listen through. You have to play songs back over and over again to really get the vibes that Jon is trying to get through to you.

There was a solid mix of different concepts on the tape. Songs like “Downtown”, my personal favorite “The Diatribe” and “Iniquitous Entrepreneur”really capture the trials and struggles that Jon has gone through–and, in some cases, still continues to go through–coming out of Miami. Jon describes his come-up to the listener by talking about his mother raising him, his struggle to stay away from the hustle of the streets and how hard it is to make an honest dollar in today’s economy.  Iniquitous Entrepreneur was especially unique, to me, because Jon talks about “getting his” and gives us the mentality that people have trying to make it through unfortunate circumstances.

What made the Barry Sanders x Ned Flanders experience unique to me was the production value and Jon’s flow. I really enjoyed tracks like “Vociferous”  that really fused together traditional American hip-hop flows with beats that gave a true taste of Jon’s Latin culture. I thought that some of the cultural fusions that he did with songs like “Latin Bill Clinton” and “Dominican Girl” were really creative and intuitive. They make you look things up, and you might even learn something about a different culture like I did.

Then there were songs like “Stoolie”, “Bon Viveur of Wordplay” and “Put it Down” that gave a more traditional hip-hop feel. His different flow structures and deliveries were fun and enjoyable while listening. Picking them out while trying to grasp Jon’s lyrics was challenging, but if you know me, I enjoy a challenge while listening to new music–it’s stimulating.

There’s no way that you can listen to this tape with a simple and traditional mind. Barry Sanders x Ned Flanders is a really appropriate title for this tape. Jon’s fusion of smart, intellectual wordplay with exotic beats and crazy diction make this a really fun tape. Jon brings the perfect mix of the high-class “educated” America in concert with the rough, rugged and raw concepts of the streets.

There aren’t many people who could bring these concepts together while fusing cultural notions and ideas together within the project to make one excellent project was very creative. I’d definitely give the tape a listen–but if you only give it one, you aren’t doing yourself justice.

You can download Jon M.A’s tape right here at datpiff.com. If you’re really feeling the tape, go ahead and make a dollar contribution here.

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