J-Zone Peter Pan Syndrome

J-ZonePeter Pan Syndrome
It's hard growing up in hip-hop, a genre controlled by ancient gatekeepers that treasure youth. NYC rapper/producer J-Zone analyzes these contradictions on Peter Pan Syndrome, his sixth solo album and first in nine years. The underground stalwart has kept busy during retirement, chronicling his music biz failure in 2011 autobiography Root for the Villain, as well as learning the drums. Zone's live drumming lends serious swing to his signature mix of amusing dialog samples and oddball loops. However, it's his honest, sharp and funny writing that makes Peter Pan Syndrome one of the first rap records to capture life in this decade. "An Honest Day's Robbery" flips the heist narrative on its head, as Zone and Has-Lo plot a slip-and-fall lawsuit in a Whole Foods. "Trespasser" targets the small-town transplants making the Big Apple soft with yoga and lapdogs, while "Black Weirdo" laments the perils of dating when Chris Brown and Tyler Perry are role models. The title track details Zone's travails as a 36-year-old rapper who refuses to grow up and get a real job. As a 2 Live Crew-loving crate digger, Zone never quite fit the backpacker pigeonhole. Here, he finally finds his niche: he's a late '00s Ice Cube, spewing curmudgeonly hilarious diatribes on gentrification, racial mixing, black masculinity, gadget obsessives and rap's fear of aging. (Old Maid)