Jhelli Beam - Busdriver
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. One consistency across all of Jhelli Beam--and particularly on such select selections as the introductory 'Split Seconds'--is Busdriver's enduring verbal dexterity.
  2. 80
    Even by his own standard, the conceptual breadth and sonic dexterity of Jhelli Beam dazzle. [Sep 2009, p.79]
  3. 80
    While there's some experimentation with new ideas here, Jhelli Beam is familiar enough to leave Busdriver fans more than satisfied. Unfortunately, it's also unlikely to convert many newcomers to the cause.
  4. In the hands of a lesser man, Jhelli Beam would be a train wreck. Instead, fans are treated to another dose of verbal head-trip with a side of phat so wacked out and freewheeling that an energetic hummingbird on crack would have trouble keeping up.
  5. Here he summons the spirit of Zappa, Blackalicious and Gil Scott-Heron to stunning effect. But when he’s speeding through neighbourhoods of clownish rhyme schemes, alliterative gibberish and sped-up Mozart sonatas, you wish he’d take his foot off the pedal slightly.
  6. 70
    Extraordinarily irrational and willfully convoluted, Jhelli Beam is avant-rap as quantum physics. Hopefully, his choir gets it.
  7. His sharp lyrics take awhile to sink in, But when he throws all standard rules out the window, it sounds like hip-hop from the future. [Jul 2009, p.122]
  8. Jhelli Beam finds this prominent member of the West Coast underground hip-hop coalition Project Blowed challenging his unique flow and uncanny wordplay at every roundabout turn, rhyming against a tsunami of samples crafted by such L.A.-based production wizards as Daedelus and Nobody, among others.
  9. Jhelli Beam manages to be a completely cerebral experience and at times overwhelming in a satisfactory way, but then again, you could say the same about ice cream headaches.
  10. The latest album from Los Angeles' Busdriver is dense. [Summer 2009, p.73]
  11. There's a lot of Busdriver on Jhelli Beam, while his themes and lyrics have become even more dense, which makes for a challenging listen that only fitfully rewards the scrutiny.
  12. Beam doesn’t lack wit or inventiveness or honesty, or any of the other things that are good about "conscious rap," but it implicitly disowns them all as impotent or corrupt, as failures before the fact. Its self-loathing is too self-aware, too pervasive, to accomplish anything more productive than wallowing.

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