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CD REVIEW: Icarus Jones - "Fly Without Wings"
By Gian F - 04/15/2005 - 11:39 PM EDT

Artist: Icarus Jones
Album: "Fly Without Wings"
CD Review: Genre: Rap
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 9
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 10
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Performance Skill: 10
Best Songs: Mr. Jones, The Super Zero, All Out, One Hit Wonder, Air Born, Motivation, Engine
Weakness: ?
CD Review: I first experienced the undeniable talents of Icarus Jones, a rap artist who is from Stockton, California, at a music industry seminar conducted by current "hot" producers, the Underdogs, who have produced for a slew of (commercially) successful music acts. Icarus turned the place upside down - accompanied by only an acoustic guitarist - evoking the greatest response from the audience and the esteemed producers.

Will they sign him? That remains to be seen, but the question that everyone was asking at the conclusion of his performance was, "Who was that curly haired white guy?" Well, after thoroughly listening to his debut CD, I have the answer and it's even more astonishing than his seminar performance. In fact, the answer is down right shocking: This curly haired white guy, who refers to himself as Mr. Jones, is the most potent and significant artist to emerge from hip-hop scene in the San Francisco Bay Area since...Tupac. Yes, that's right, Tupac!

Each track on this CD seems to be written from a different part in the many creative hemispheres of his mind; effortlessly transforming rap from an art into a science while he displays flawless flow, original thoughts, and street intellect over well-crafted beats and stimulating melodies.

With a project of this eminence, it's difficult (and somewhat pointless) to select the most "commercial" track, but from an industry standpoint, "Mr. Jones" would serve well as an introductory song and lead-off track with its dizzying chorus, infectious groove, and wicked display of rhyming dexterity. Comparisons to another prominent white rap artist will inevitably arise with the tempo, tenor, and levity found on "Mr. Jones," where he proclaims: "The harder I kept trying to be somebody else, the more I realized that I can only be myself..."

If there are questions regarding his true identity they will be answered in "Super Zero," the track that illustrates and punctuates his lyrical prowess, while establishing him as an unmistakable hip-hop force with the following lyrics:

"Get it straight, I straight manipulate magic to wreak havoc and punctuate my points until the punks panic, like dammit, how does he make it look so easy to sound hard? From Cali to Cape Cod keepin it odd and avante garde, and from Calgary to Calcutta, I got suckers stutter steppin, bustin like an unregistered weapon...start checking, I'm a voice for the silent, a champion for the cause, a creature of the night, and a rebel without a cause, I'm a rider of the storm and a provider of protection, winds of the fallen I'm a glory of imperfection..." And there's plenty more where that came from.

In today's collaborative climate, no project in any genre is complete without the contributions of other artists. The difference on this project is that Mr. Jones was confident and smart enough to enlist the talents of peers that actually helped to enhance and elevate this project to its superior status; giving them the chance to prove that they can hold their own in the process. Solid efforts were turned in by Snap Jackson, Statement, Neglected, Mudbone, Tom Knocks, Nferno, and the Orgy Fest Jazz Funk Trio. I also have to single out the contributions of producers Damage and Beat Head of Audio Might Productions, whose collective talents resulted in the creation of a phenomenal rap project that hip-hop enthusiasts must have, and industry professionals would be foolish not to take note of.

The only fitting conclusion for this review is yet another excerpt from Mr. Jones, this one coming from the track, "All Out."

"Get it I did it despite the critics without ever for a minute giving in to the gimmicks, I came straight from the heart from the start to the finish so if you aint saying shit then I say fuck your image, I aint got nothing to lose but my voice and my self-respect so make your choice and place your bets."

I'd be willing to bet that Mr. Jones can fly without wings...or without the help of the Underdogs for that matter.

Advice: Assemble a strong business team of professionals to help you manage the huge success that you will soon have.

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