Porter Ray, “Jewelry”

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 08.01.14 in Listen to This

Rhymes equate to finery and even sex on “Jewelry,” from Porter Ray‘s newly released Fundamentals mixtape. The firmly, patiently enunciated lyrics here mix conventional commercial-rap drugs/cars/cigars/”bitches” imagery with more conscious-style references to “crime in the streets, poverty and police” and black pride. Biggie and Pac are name-checked; so are Malcolm and Martin. It’s still a mixtape — speaking pedantically, we can’t “take a glimpse through” someone’s “iris“— but also on shiny display is the languid, aqueous production, credited to “B Roc for Articulate Flavor.” The 17-track set comes as Sub Pop announces it has signed Ray, after the rapper caught the attention of the label’s Ishmael Butler —whose Shabazz Palaces just released an album in  Lese Majesty that only further goes to show why the former Digable Planets MC’s taste is worth taking seriously. Besides, as a calm voice-over instructs, “Keep your third eye open.”