Tennessee’s own Memphis Jelks is back with more positive, uplifting Hip Hop. With his latest single, “Think B4U Shoot”, featuring Q-Bol, Jelks stays true to the conscious brand of rap that has set him apart from his peers throughout his career. Sonically, “Think B4U Shoot” is a slow-tempo, eerie, piano/keyboard/synth driven track that perfectly complements the warnings of street life perils in Jelks’ and Q-Bol’s lyrics.
The hook features a ghostly sounding vocal chorus that further cements the song’s overall feel; somber and cautionary. Both emcees employ their strong storytelling abilities to tell tales of those who traversed their urban environments irresponsibly, and ultimately fell prey to negative forces. As Q-Bol raps:
Got plenty love in these streets, homie was doing his thang
But with the money come haters it’s just a part of the game
The gun is aimed, they just waiting to shoot
They ain’t mean to kill him, they just wanted the loot
Another black man gone, another three wasted lives
Now their mothers are crying talkin’ about this ain’t right
It’s a dangerous life, mixing this money and drugs. Everybody’s a victim losing somebody they love
“Think B4U Shoot” is yet another example of Memphis Jelks’ powerful use of lyricism and imagery to not just report the troubles many in urban communities face, but more importantly, to offer another path. As he raps in the chorus, “if you only knew the truth, you would think before you shoot. Understand, this a plan man, just for me and you. You‘re a lie, if you think it’s cool when somebody dies. Penitentiaries packed with people just like you and I.” It’s these types of messages pushing for accountability and change that truly capture Jelks’ purpose, and with this track, he yet again succeeds at conveying that message in his music. Salute to Memphis Jelks for continuing to fight the good fight.
“Think B4U Shoot” can be streamed on Rap Station and the video, which features Jelks in a kick-ass Public Enemy shirt (no doubt a shout out to his boss and mentor, the legendary Chuck D), can be viewed here.
For more takes on music, culture, politics and more, visit JP Lime Productions.