Label: Ground Original
Raising The Bar…
Queens based hip-hop duo Jak D (MC) and Jay W (producer), better known as Cold Heat are no strangers to success. From their inception, the duo has managed to rally an impressive list of accolades in an incredibly short amount of time. In promotion of their 2007 released debut album Bar Hoppin (Bomb Hip-Hop), both Jak and Jay toured the U.S. as the opening act for Sadat X (of Brand Nubian). This led Jay W to work closely with Sadat, receiving executive production credits on the 2009 release of his Brand New Bein’ LP (Traffic Entertainment Group). That same year, Jak D was featured on two tracks on DJ JS-1’s No Sellout producer compilation (Ground Original/Fatbeats). 2010 marked a milestone for the Queens duo, as their previously released Life Behind Bars LP (Soulspazm/Ground Original), which includes guest features from Torae, G Wiz (Bravehearts), O.C., JS-1, Da Beatminerz, Craig G, Sean Price, Large Professor and the Brown Bag AllStars among others, was selected by iTunes as one of the top indie hip-hop albums of the year.
In 2011, the duo is pleased to release their latest effort, appropriately titled Raising The Bar which continues in the tradition of both of their previous ‘bar’ themed releases, Bar Hoppin and Life Behind Bars, respectively. On Raising The Bar, the duo declare their emancipation, showcasing a discernible maturation as artist and producer. The duplicity of the title suggests that they have raised their own quality standards, but have also upped the ante in the game as whole “…the price of liquor just went up” says Jak D.
The alubm’s title track “Raising The Bar” , featuring Blacastan & the legendary Craig G, represents lyrical warfare at its finest as hour as the three emcee’s blitzkrieg over Jay W’s apocalyptic production. “Thinking Out Loud” highlight’s Jak’s artistic growth and personal integrity as he addresses what’s truly important in this life; friendship, loyalty, and being true to oneself. On “Looking For You”, Jak argues against the institution of religion, but is eager to find a sign of God’s existence, where on “When You Coming Home”, Jak takes on the first person narrative of a little boy writing a letter to his father, an enlisted soldier that he hasn’t seen in over two years.
Features on Raising The Bar are used sparingly, but very deliberately, such as the triumphant “Taking It All” , featuring the ‘Wild Cowboy’ Sadat X and mixtape icon J-Love, the ominous, synth-heavy “Smoke That Drink That”, featuring Screwball’s Blaq Poet, “Spanish Guitars” featuring Nico The Beast, SR, Neta & Meyhem Lauren, “Rolling Through” featuring Keith Spitz as well as the aforementioned “Raising The Bar”.
When asked about their approach to recording Raising The Bar, Jak W states: “This album means striving to do what I love at the highest level it can be done. It means pushing myself to step outside of my comfort zone so that I can grow as an artist and more importantly as a person.” Jay W adds: “There’s no doubt that we raised the bar on this album – this is our best effort to date.”
There is no question that the Queens-duo break new ground with their latest effort. Cold Heat deliver their benchmark album that is as conceptually diverse and honest as it is braggadocio and animated…the bar has been raised.