Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Oran "Juice" Jones

  • Oran "Juice" Jones [Def Jam, 1986] C+
  • To Be Immortal [OBR/Columbia, 1989] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Oran "Juice" Jones [Def Jam, 1986]
Supposedly, this is the lowdown on love men: when his lady ventures off her pedestal, Juice drops the sensitive act and treats her like a gangster. And love him or hate him, he's about talking, not singing. I mean, personally I find his brand loyalties and "y'unnerstand?"s kinda revolting, but he talks 'em like he walks 'em, so I can understand why hipper folks think they're hilarious parodies of the player's life and line. What I don't get is why any lady should be fooled by his sensitive act--he's got the falsetto to negotiate the second-rate Chi-Lites songs his raps are buried in, but not to put them across. Which makes the concept a cheat and the album a bore. C+

To Be Immortal [OBR/Columbia, 1989]
The push here is an anticrack message that's not as fresh or convincing as he pretends, but whatever the man's relationship to cocaine, he's finally confronted his demon--he can't sing. Not a stupid guy, he hits upon a model more within his means than Blue Magic, generating the best Ray Parker Jr. record since "Ghostbusters" obviated the original's need for same. Not a nice guy either, he goes for a harder tone, with real live insight into the "Gangster Attitude" he knows so well. But the angular studio funk and talky vocals ring the right bells, and the slow ones you can ignore. B+