There was a time when I had hoped “left of center” hip-hop would become… maybe not part of the norm where all rap music was like it, but that it would at least be acknowledged. These days, if you’re not without an alcohol endorsement or have Kanye West on your song, you’re worthless, and that’s a shame. Then I think to myself: if Bigg Jus creates “left of center” hip-hop, does that still make that hip-hop at all? Myself then answers: hell yeah.
So what does Bigg Jus mean when he called his album Machines That Make Civilization Fun (Mush)? Is he saying that machines are indeed fun? Or that civilization would not be civil without the progress that machines have helped to create? Can that be a metaphor for hip-hop? It depends. The kind of music Bigg Jus creates is on some serious demented shit. I’m talking lyrically, musically, and flow. There’s a track on here where he raps each line and verse in the same key, almost like a robot and yet it works with the chaotic soundtrack going on in the background. Then there are other songs where you’re not sure if he is rhyming to the beat, but then after a few bars, you’re aware that he’s aware. It’s a bit like what Company Flow, Divine Styler, Kool Keith, New Kingdom, and Jungle Brothers had seeded years ago, and this is the fruit. I listened to these songs individually and it’s a mind fuck. I listened to the album as one sense of consciousness, and it’s a mind fuck. There are moments where he’s singing, but you’re not sure if it is singing at all. Or that he could be some random guy who heard some beats coming through the basement window, and he said “I got a notebook, let me drop this and… no no, I don’t need headphones, you just set me up and you can fix me later.” It sounds so spontaneous but the genius in what he does is how crazy he comes off. Is Bigg Jus trying to be civil, or does he represent the machine? I don’t know but I will listen to this over and over, and it doesn’t matter if I ever discover the answer.