ALBUM REVIEW: Negus Intelligence by Jerrell Grimes

negus Jerrell Grimes is a rap/hip hop artist hailing from Tampa, Florida though he was born and raised in Newport, Rhode Island. As well as a rapper, he is a poet and author who endured a childhood struggle against cancer, and these formative experiences are reflected in his music. Negus Intelligence is his debut album of which he is both the songwriter and executive producer.

You can hear influences such as Notorious B.I.G. and Nas amongst others across the seventeen tracks, which are consistently strong. His rapping style is flowing and distinctive as evidenced on opening track VICTORY which contains a great chorus hook, and shows his resilience with the line “I ain’t never giving’ up.” The backing track consists of a funky hip hop beat with a flowing piano melody, and the music throughout the album is nicely varied, as is the tempo of the tracks.

As fitting for a poet, he has a romantic, sensitive side which he displays on great tracks like Serious Affair and Always. This aspect of his character acts as a nice contrast to the more aggressive, defiant streak shown on some tracks and there is also a more sensual side displayed on Naked (Parts One and Two). Musically, I loved the electronica influence on Please Don’t Misunderstand Me, which could be a good single.

The final two tracks KING and QUEEN are an appropriate way to close the album, the former showing the more ebullient and defiant part of his character as he references his cancer struggle (“I conquered death, it didn’t win…“). The latter captures his more emotional nature, and the search for love which is an underlying theme of the whole album (“Every king needs a queen…”).

Overall, this is an excellent debut album full of memorable tracks that showcase Jerrell’s dextrous abilities as a rapper and inventive lyricist. His remarkable backstory and fightback may well give him an edge over hordes of other rappers vying for the limelight, and this album should put the name of Jerrell Grimes strongly on the map in the hip hop scene.


Alex Faulkner

Verdict: 8.5 out of 10



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