Scrublife rapper Wax (Michael Jones) just got in some end-of-summer grilling last week in his fourth studio album, The Cookout Chronicles (Sept. 2, Scrublife Music). The funny, relatable everyman-emcee has once again writ-and-spit plenty more super clever, super witty rhyme creations to non-flashy, non-poppy feel good beats, the kind that buzz, hum and click away in the back and against the wall like the cool dispositioned, simple natured Wax-man himself. He really knows how to bring the heat to the meat, or rather to a beat that is.
There definitely seems to be love in the air for Wax here, or at least at the end of the day, after he’s gone through bouts of breakup, confusion, longing and questioning. His “First Love” (and those that came after) have him postulating that his past girlfriends left because they couldn’t compete with and were maybe jealous of his favorite passion – rap, and with Queens, New York firecracker Awkwafina, he takes a ride on the wild side in “Love Will Make You Do Dumb Ish” to share stories on crazy irrational romantic flings. You can like it or not, but Wax eventually goes back to believing in that timeless, age-old amorous feel in “Never Thought I’d Be In Love Again.”
What remains are the fascinatingly truthful, frequently hilarious and titillatingly lyrical journeys and jaunts of the controlled goofball in Big Wax circa early to mid 2016. He’s poked fun at himself in the past about his relationships with drugs and alcohol, but this time he takes it to the next universe in “A.O.” describing a new bizarro-world version of Alcoholics Anonymous that is both pathetic and laughable at the same time. Prepare to be blown away though for real because as per usual Wax brings more than enough of his wig-splitting writing and lyricism: “I remember people’s asses like a Tempur-Pedic mattress” (“Chunky”) and “I’m the most scholarly shopper on a shopping spree at the dollar tree” (“Reborn”) are just two juicy cuts to sample.
Since the beginning, Wax has had a very unique way of characterizing himself in the game, which is as a carefree regular guy, a lovable loser sometimes even, and with amazing rhymes, it’s very difficult to pass up what he’s serving here. He sure knows how to get a flame going and keep it lit at this hip-hop barbecue of sorts. If you’d like to get picky, the productions really can’t be called revolutionary, but the words make up for them enormously. The Cookout Chronicles may not be the most ambitious Wax project out there, but it is definitely one of his most chuckle-inducing ones so far. (4 out of 5 stars)