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Jean Grae

Our critics' picks in new releases

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At first listen Jean Grae is every record label's dream: a female who can rap her a** off. But Grae, as an artist and freethinking person, has been around long enough to know how the business works. Grae first began playing the rap game when she was just a teenager. Her first group, Ground Zero, was featured in The Source's Unsigned Hype, but she wasn't happy and soon joined Natural Resources.

Grae, aka What What, reminisces in a recent Indy interview: "Natural Resources was definitely great, just for the experience, we were very young. I was like 17, 18 when "Baseball" came out. It was definitely us having fun with it. Those were my first real recorded, gonna-be-released projects, so I was kinda like, 'I can do anything right now; nobody knows who I am.'" The only real difference now is that heads know who she is, but the bad-ass female rapper still does exactly what she wants; her new album, Attack of The Attacking Things ...The Dirty Mixes CD, is the proof. After getting an eight out of 10 review in Spin and doing well on SoundScan, Grae is pretty happy.

"I am proud of everything on the album. I am proud of me, damn it!" As well she should be. The album has fun, original skits sprinkled throughout, while "Love Song" is an excellent example of Grae's storytelling skills, laid on top of a classic Evil Dee beat. Grae gets to flex her tongue muscle in "Thank Ya," with lines like "I spit like the little kids on the bus/ non-stop skill more disturbing than the thought of your ex having sex with one of your parents/ all on top like the flip missionary position/ Bee-atch I'm straight tripping like Mickey Dunn killed my cousin."

That's just a taste, folks. If this doesn't convince you, then check Grae out yourself at her show on Thursday, Aug. 29, at the Cat's Cradle.

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