jj: Kills

(Sincerely Yours)

Kills is the n° 4 installment from Swedish artist jj, known otherwise as Joakim Benon and Elin Kastlander.

The album, which was initially released free to the public as a mixtape, contains ten tracks featuring samples from other modern artists. Many suspect the title comes from the concept of “killing” a song that the artist is borrowing a sample from, vs. ruining the concept of the riginal song (as stated by Lil Wayne.)

The album opens with “Still,” a song that samples “Still D.R.E.” by Dr. Dre and features lyrics like, “then we go and get buzzed, get drunk, get crunk, get fucked up… cause we’re young and we get money.” This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album, presenting the typical formula of “bling, bitches and money,” but luckily, listeners are easily distracted by the atmospheric vocals of Kastlander.

“Kill Them,” the first track released off the album, features samples from Akon’s “Right Now,” while “Kill You” samples almost the entire “Paper Planes” song by M.I.A. (even some of her lyrics.) “New Work” is probably my favorite lyrical track on the album, sampling beats from Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” and featuring lyrics like “And wild was the world, and wild we burned. We were kings of the streets, not yet beaten by defeats…I remember when we were winning.”

Other beats sampled include Lil Wayne’s “3 Peat,” T-Pain’s “Can’t Believe It,” Dr. Dre’s “Under Pressure,” Kanye West’s “Power” and “Runaway,” and Diddy’s “Angels” (featured in the jj track of the same name) and containing specific lyrics from Biggie Smalls and a mixed in sample from Tupac’s “Changes.”

Overall, while I personally prefer the earlier albums from jj, this still is a club lover’s dream mix-tape, offering up new twists on many renowned hip-hop hits.

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