Oreo Jones’ new album, Betty, is for the erratic listener in all of us. In this collection of swift-moving tracks, milks’ favorite emcee runs through 12 songs in 30 minutes and welcomes guests to the microphone no fewer than four times. Just like a Jimmy John’s sandwich-maker, Oreo employs freaky-fast delivery and has something to offer everyone- no matter what they’ve got a hankering for.
On Betty, his first full-length album following two EP’s and a mixtape, Oreo turned to long-time friend and collaborator 90 Lbs to produce the beats that would create the album’s framework. Drenched in the same distinctive, futuristic synths as The Delicious EP, opening track “House Nigga” launches listeners into shock right out the gate. Rookies to the gospel of Oreo Jones should take note of his iconic articulation showcased in the lines of this song’s chorus; the flawless finesse that sets him apart from other emcees is showcased perfectly here. Just three tracks into the album, Oreo expands his skillset on the hazy, trudging song “Burnt Circles” to take credit for both vocals and production.
Producer and Heavy Gun Blog co-founder J. Brookinz leaves his soulful imprint on three Betty tracks: “Frankie”, “Needy” and “Randy Savage”- the latter bearing resemblance in production style to standout track “Rebel Music” from the southern rock-inspired Gat3way.
J-Hex (front woman for We Are Hex) haunts Oreo’s verses twice on Betty. Her bizarre vocals and eerie chants mix with Oreo’s windy rhymes and 90 Lbs’ rhythmic bleep-bloops to give “No Coast” an awesome, witchy vibe. Six tracks later, on “Option Control”, the emcee-and-crooner duo return- this time with playful vocals that seem to dance and intertwine around a radiant, levitating beat.
KO (former leading lady of Slothpop) shines brightly on “Rotate” and helps close the album on an elegant note of optimism. Written in honor of Oreo’s grandmother (the woman who the album is titled after and whose photo graces the cover), Betty’s final track veers slightly from Oreo’s traditional beat-driven, rapid style of groovy rap. Instead, his delicate lyrics are articulate and unhurried, assuring the listener takes heed to every word of his message.
And just like that, it’s over in the blink of an eye- switching up moods and tempos only half as often as the second hand rotating the clock. If you feel like you went all-in for a high-five with Betty and she left you hanging mid-air, don’t fret; when you purchase a physical or digital version of the album, you’ll be rewarded with 15 extra minutes of bonus material that I promise will leave you feeling more than satisfied (including the ever-popular Cordon Bleu and a special appearance from Andy D on “Play Place”).
Support local and put some dough in Oreo’s pocket by picking up a copy of the capricious Betty today; it’s a delectable smorgasbord of single-serving hip hop songs- sort of like one plate at the china buffet.