Welcome to the world of Tucson underground hip-hop, flying mostly below the radar and unjustly ignored by the majority of local music fans. Enter Jivin Scientists, who strive to bulldoze through this granite wall of apathy with The Morning After.
The record contains many of the hallmarks of local rap music: early '90s Dr. Dre and Wu-Tang Clan beats and loops, lackadaisical rapping as pioneered by Rakim, and lyrics that are relaxed while proclaiming their own greatness. However, what sets Jivin Scientists apart are their brutally confessional and introspective lyrics. Loneliness, rejection and general angst are just some of the topics covered here. Even the sex raps and occasional gangsta posturing contain insecurity.
That's not to say that Jivin Scientists are The Cure of hip-hop. This album has its fair share of party songs, with band members gazing into their navels and combining the aforementioned personal uncertainty.
As far as the musical production goes, RZA (of the Wu-Tang Clan), circa 1994, seems to be the predominant blueprint here. Slow, slightly spooky and foreboding, The Morning After feels and sounds like that rickety old ladder that could break apart at any time. Still, the relaxed piano and string-section samples are occasionally uplifting, adding a respite from the relentless gloom.
A well-rounded, well-performed and well-written album, The Morning After lives up to its title—but also sounds pretty damn good the next day.