Jamal Gasol ended 2018 with a bang when he dropped True Stories. The emcee’s final body of work for the year is a 10 track LP with plenty of heat for your ears. There’s nothing phony here, just raw story telling at it’s finest. The project has some stellar production from Vinyl Villain, Won87, MarcDub, Sadhugold., Illah Dutch, Ol‘ Man 80z, Wavy Da Ghawd, Camoflauge Monk, EyeDee and Onaje Jordan. Jamal holds his own with the exception of guest appearances from Jay NiCE, Estee Nack and Rome Streetz.
My favorite tracks were “True Stories”, “2016”, “Smoke”, “Not What it Seems”, “Reflection (My Time)”, and “Give Up The Goods 2k18”, which was a nice way to pay homage to the Mobb Deep classic. I didn’t find a theme in terms of production since there was a different producer for each track, but the outcome was really good. Jamal doesn’t restrict himself to just one particular sound or “type beat”, which is a good thing, and it displays his versatility. Packaging and presentation is also a big deal to me, so I was impressed by the album cover art which was a newspaper theme. Included is a CD booklet that has all of the lyrics printed, also displayed like a newspaper article.
This is a well put together project from an emcee who’s lived the life he depicts in his music. Jamal has a distinct voice that exudes confidence and authenticity when he raps. What I appreciate about him is that he never comes across as trying to glorify street life. Instead, he speaks from an honest place about how his experiences made him who he is without coming off as bragging about it. Cassette and vinyl formats for True Stories will be coming shortly, but for now you can pre-order the CD on his website: jamalgasol.com.