RJD2 – Dame Fortune

Released: 3/25/2016

3/7 stars

RJD2 has made some strides in electronic jazz. RJD2 composed the Mad Men intro song, a song that depicts Don Draper’s dark and manipulative side with his charming charisma. You may have heard RJD2 in the background of a Miller Light commercial. Chances are if you are into progressive soul music, you have heard of RJD2. RJD2 is known for channeling his musical roots, Philly, as his soul/jazz/funk-inspired sound.

On March 25, RJD2 released his sixth solo album, Dame Fortune. Born Ramble Jon Krohn, he began to create music in 1993. Krohn wears many hats in the industry: producer, DJ, singer-songwriter, etc. Released from his own label, RJ’s Electrical Connection, the album has received praise among critics. Though it does have occasional valleys, overall, I find myself generally enjoying the peaks of easy listening this album provides.

His genre is defined as hip-hop and indie rock, but there is so much more to it than that, as evident by his newest album. The album has the signature RJD2 vibe: electronic experimental sampling combined with jazzy horns and R&B flavor. However, I found myself unable to identify with one particular genre or even theme in the album. This is both a good and bad thing. After all, an album trying to be too much at once is simply overwhelming. Whenever I started to enjoy the funk and jazz direction the album was taking, the next track was a deviation. The tracks “Up in the Clouds”, which features hip-hop mixed with a guitar and builds into an intense string hook, and “The Sheboygan Left”, which takes on a jazzy sound with even a bit of gospel undertones, are so completely different, its hard to believe they are part of the same album.

Featured artists on the album provide depth and diversity. Son Little and Jordan Brown guest star on two of the albums most promising tracks. Overall, the album has a few star tracks on it, which stand out in an otherwise very typical RJD2 album.

Check out: “The Sheboygan Left,” and “Peace of What”, which are two songs on the album that are undeniably catchy and sound like what I hope RJD2 will channel in his future work.