During my editorial stint at the hip-hop website TheBoombox.com, I compiled a top 20 list of the Greatest Jazz Rap Albums of the 1990s. It’s not a thorough list by any means (I only had 20 slots to fill), so I missed a few albums. But I have most of the celebrated jazz/hop-hop albums of that era.
One of the many artists featured on the list was a little unknown band called Justice System. They were an eclectic live band out of New York who made a name for themselves by performing energetic live shows throughout NYC. The group was eventually signed to MCA Records and released their debut album Rooftop Soundcheck in 1994.
The project was a great collection of jazz and rap-infused sounds that celebrated hip-hop culture. The LP was a toast to New York with standout tracks like “Trouble on My Mind" (with its hat-tip to Public Enemy's Chuck D) and “Santana,” which paid homage to legendary guitarist Carlos Santana.
Twenty-four years after the release of their debut album, Justice System is back with a new track called “Bronxian Bauxite.” Produced by Jason Famous Beats, the song is a salute to the birthplace of hip-hop (Bronx, New York) and the five elements from the culture.
Listen to Justice System's "Bronxian Bauxite"
There's plenty of old-school phrasings and deft rapping from the two MCs who are spitting lyrics over a melodic piano groove and a classic boom-bap beat. Lyrics consists of reflective rhymes like this:
"Seminole headstrap my rap is inspired by the "Big Payback" and Uptown brainiacs / They were sonic archeologists, non-apologists, obvious ominous in the invisible metropolis / Minding for gold with no handhold / Records untold, they were buying by the billfold / And when a new break was found...it was like, get down-get down."
If you are unfamiliar with the Justice System's 1994 album Rooftop Soundcheck, I added two of my favorite songs from the project for your listening pleasure. Hit the flip below.