|You may not know Bigg Jus, because Machines That Makes Civilization Fun is technically only his second album. Japan-only debut, and British-only re-release, and mini self-released album nonwithstanding. Company Flowalbums aside. Regardless of his Nephlim Modulation Systems collaborative albums with Orko Eloheim.|
What’s more, he’s incredibly elusive, giving out scant interviews and cautiously limiting his presence on social media. So what’s the appeal? Well the first track will settle you right in, as slightly muffled piano stabs give way to a pounding beat and frantic bassline, on top of various car alarms sounds and death notes yelled through bullhorns. In keeping with the rest of his work, Bigg Jus goes straight for the jugular, attempting to wake up brains numbed by government propaganda. While his previous album was handled by his homie Gman, he produced this one himself – he had to take it all upon himself. Machines That Make Civilization Fun. Machines That Make Civilization Run.
I’m hesitant to call it a concept album, but it might as well be: Jus’ bunker ethics found a perfect backdrop when the voting/drum/network machines attacked. It’s pretty crazy out there, but it’s not all fucked, there’s hope, but his stance his clear: “Occupy Oakland! Occupy Washington! Occupy Langley! Occupy all dem!” Bigg Jus comes off more often than not as a shamanic prophet telling tales of the present to warn the masses, educate the youths, make civilization fun. He spits in a strange monotone interrupted by illuminated tangential moments. Take the eponymous track halfway between yelling and lamenting on a beat that sounds more like a machinegun drumcheck. This is probably the best illustration (not the most audible) of what you are getting into. Lest you would think this is an accident, Kush Star Catalog features a rambling style of the same quality.
More than a rapper, he is a praise-singer to self-centered deities fighting their way through the bullshit of the modern world. From the clearcut approach of Black Roses (which has a couple of great remixes) to the 32-bar deep, chorusless Samson Op-Ed the album presses on a sense of urgency emphasized by the obtuse production style. There are a couple of instrumental tracks too that sound unfortunately threadbare, though they do provide some respite between the lyrical assaults. I guess what I mean to say is that behind the apparent chaos, there is a density of themes and styles that needs several listens to get used to.
There might be more of a listenership today for Bigg Jus’ music, in a day and age where Ableton-based music is pretty much everywhere and rap acts with a rugged sound such as Death Grips can get record deals. But the essentially political and poetic elements of his writing leave no doubt: his music is meant for magick ears only. There is a lack of artifice that makes me think he still wants people to make the initial effort, to transgress appearances and reach the truth. More power to you if you do. - Mishka