DJ Juls is back with a new mixtape, Jungle Book Beat Tape III, over an hour of jams that subtly expand what we have come to expect from this up and coming producer. Last time we checked in with him, Juls was looking to expand his sound and add a few more colors to his palate. It looks like he did just that- Jungle Book Beat Tape III is louder, heavier, and more diverse than Juls’ previous work, and it’s all the better for it.
A mixture between instrumentals and tracks featuring some of the hottest names in Ghanian alternative rap, the tape opens with the sizzurp-thick track “Wonna Own”, a smooth exercise in hissing hi hats and stretched out choral samples. It’s a pretty triumphant sound for the an opener, and it speaks volumes about what’s to come. “Yo Momma” is all modern basso ostinato, razor sharp cellos, and sprinklings of machine-gun samples; “Warm Up” makes the idea of James Brown sampling feel new again; “Feel Alright” sounds both reptilian and sultry, if such a vibe can be imagined; and “Kurt Kobain” shakes back and forth like a skiff, features a horn line that’s catchy as all get out, and mercifully seems to have little to do with the Nirvana front-man (at least give the success of his appearance in Jay Z’s latest).
Taken as a whole, this is clearly a quality tape from a quality producer. While Jungle Book Beat Tape III isn’t a radical departure from Jul’s previous work, it definitely reflects both the producer’s increasing confidence and the continuing refinement of his deliciously classicist aesthetic. Highlights like “Makola” or the previously mentioned “Warm Up,” demonstrate just how smooth Juls can keep it while pushing an approach that still remains rough around the edges- the sounds just a little washed out, providing an aural grit that sticks in your ears in all the right ways. The source material is better handled, the beats are a little fatter, and the rhymes are sharp as a blade- so good looks on a DJ who remains an up and coming talent.