Jesse Dangerously – Humble & Brilliant

Loud, fast, busy! The raps, the productions, the entire ethos of Jesse Dangerously can be described thus. One discussion with Jesse is all it takes to realize that he is a) intelligent, b) open minded, despite being thoroughly c) convicted, and above all else he is a d) rap scholar. It is no small task to tackle a Jesse Dangerously record. There is almost zero room to breathe between his raps—suffocating layers of rhymes, content, and his endearing lisp, his ice cold cuts and scratches, and his full plate productions. The newest Jesse record, Humble & Brilliant, is a magnum opus. The record comes with a 70 page chapbook with a forward by Buck 65 and illustrations by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Hope Larson! This isn’t just another record, this is a monument for the posterity of Canadian rap. Jesse Dangerously is in many ways a switchboard for Canada’s underground rap practitioners. Not unlike Epic, Jesse knows everyone. He is the closest thing to a professor of rap I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I could go into a dissertation on his content, particularly his anti-theism (see “Triptych I”), which is often insensitive and unforgiving, not unlike the theists that have surely prompted his antagonism to begin with. But the same freedom that allows their insensitivity protects his as well so I will let that rest in the interest of peace. And in further defense of his standoffish tone, it’s difficult to do anything else when implementing what is without a doubt the most aggressive and standoffish musical genre outside of tribal war chanting. This record is a banger, man! If you dig rap that is actually challenging, you’re going to fall head over heels for Jesse Dangerously. It will always be a virtue when a rap song doesn’t force you to turn your brain off to enjoy it. In that sense specifically, Humble & Brilliant is sincerely virtuous!

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