Dr. Who Dat

Beat Journey

Philadelphia rapper/producer Jneiro Jarel emerged last year with Three Piece Puzzle, a strong yet overlooked debut that was stylistically beholden to Madlib and the late Jay Dee. The all-instrumental Beat Journey finds him striving toward a unique identity, though astute listeners will find traces of those musical masters in it (ironically, both Madlib and Jay Dee issued instrumental albums earlier this year). Plus, many of the tracks overtly reference other hip-hop songs. “On the Doelow” gets its hook from the Pharcyde’s “On the Downlow,” while “Deep Blaque” shouts out the late Jam Master Jay. But Jarel’s artistic success doesn’t come from trademark sounds a la J-Dilla’s snares and handclaps, but from an ability to produce tracks that are full of verve and personality. His mostly voiceless music sings loud and soulfully, whether it’s in the way he tweaks an Arthur Verocai sample on “Brazilian Portrait,” or how he skillfully composes beats into a Beat Journey. 4 stars