An old boss of mine used to have an analogy that he would use all the time to explain the need to provide customers with something different, something fresh. His rationale was called “The J-Lo Effect.”
The way that he explained it was, imagine if you walk into work one day and Jennifer Lopez (hey, it was 2002) is sitting on your desk. Naked. That would make for a pretty damn good morning, right? Now imagine this goes on every single morning for a prolonged period of time. For the first couple of weeks or so, it probably wouldn’t get old. But after a while, you would just walk into work and say, “Hi, Jennifer,” and go about your business. Unless you walked into work and there was a different beautiful naked woman on your desk each morning, eventually you would start to feel indifferent or, at the very least, it wouldn’t be as exciting.
Such is the problem with a lot of artists in hip-hop these days. Yes, there are artists and songs that you like listening to, but how many of them stand out as different?
Enter JC Poppe.
Poppe, a Milwaukee native, can best be described as different. In searching for a comparison, I couldn’t find one.
And that’s a good thing.
JC Poppe’s freshman debut, Sleep Therapy, features guest appearances by Guilty Simpson, Naledge of Kidz in the Hall, and 88-Keys. The album has a very lyrical feel to it, almost along the lines of a Joell Ortiz or a Talib Kweli release, but it doesn’t come off as if he is trying to sound like them. In fact, if there is one complaint with the album, it’s that I am not sure who Poppe is as an artist just yet. He possesses loads of potential and it should be fun to watch him grow as an artist. The book on Milwaukee hip-hop has yet to be written but JC Poppe certainly possesses the power to change all that.
In closing, if you consider yourself a hip-hop head, Sleep Therapy is definitely worth a listen. The album has something of a throwback East Coast/Midwest hybrid vibe to it, if that makes any sense, and grades out as a quality debut. Poppe is a bright young artist that sets himself apart from the rest of the pack.