No Sugar in the Kool Aid: 3Bubble and J. Gray “LiveFromThePentagon”

~Tirhakah Love (@GoonTherapy)

Everything starts out groovy. A swanky bebop beat that gets the floor thumpin’ with a swampland bassline. Houston’s own, 3Bubble and J. Gray, trading frivolous 16s that are as kinetic as the piping horns that carry this record’s bombast. The duo is indeed living “The Life” on the intro track of their forthcoming album, LiveFromThePentagon, which is unfortunately one its few peaks. Poor songwriting and tasteless beat selection damn the album early and often, save for a few tracks, but it’s general lack of fun takes its soul away.

3Bubble and JGray aren’t short on talent even if it is a bit misdirected at times. “Euros” showcases 3Bubble’s delivery nicely and his voice does have intriguing potential in terms of hook creation. But the chorus is a off-key and J. Gray isn’t as even-keeled. Lyrically, the themes here aren’t special. The typical coming from the bottom type joint; the one where the man from out the hood could never really take the hood outta him. More tired themes abound as you bounce around this record. The tandem offer some sage advice on “Don’t Lie” with gems like  “Don’t mistake being lazy for being patient.” Wow, thanks guys, I really needed more pressure to perform well at my job. The fact that its backed with a EDM track is even more concerning.

The duo does make a considerate attempt to be inspiring. Their delivery is anachronistic though; sounding more like your parents than an OG. From the quick ode to “The niggas that no matter what gon keep it real” on “This One” to the tired black on black crime argument on “Get Up,” the group doesn’t seem to know exactly what style their going for. The project sounds like a project. The duo brought hateration and holleration all up in the dancery on “We Know” in the most middle school way possible with a struggle bar, “Let’s keep it trill, most you niggas suck.” The use of local slang is supposed to make it dope but for some reason it feels out of place. 3Bubble and J. Gray should go back to the drawing board with this release. With only two true pop-ready singles with “Hands Up” and “Don’t Lie,” they should reassess what style they’re going for or falling into the Wale trap — poking at different styles without successfully crafting jams for each.

3Bubble and J. Gray’s LiveFromThePentagon will be available May 30 on SoundCloud


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