The Big Issue album review: Jimblah — ‘Phoenix’, October 2013

A music review for The Big Issue, printed in issue #443 of the magazine.

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Jimblah – Phoenix

JImblah Phoenix reviewJimblah’s Phoenix arrives with a degree of expectation. It’s not just that the Adelaide-based indigenous rapper has been turning heads with a buttery style matched to forceful lyrics; his Sydney-based label, Elefant Traks, has been on a run of superb albums since early 2012. It says plenty, then, that Jimblah knocks it out of the park on his first LP for the label. Phoenix is full of anger, despair, reconciliation and hope; its tales of a fractious Australia are powered by meaty productions and soulful hooks. Jimblah’s raps come in breathless flows, like he’s running against the clock to save the country. More impressive is the fact that he produced the album himself, lending it an intimacy even when he steps forward on cuts such as the Yothu Yindi-sampling ‘Fireproof’ and the swelling ‘Rule the World’. There’s a half step of artistry lacking in the third quarter, but this remains one of the most important hip-hop albums of the year, by turns heartbreaking and inspiring. MATT SHEA 

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