JT the Bigga Figga

Who Grind Like Us?

Rapper/producer JT the Bigga Figga, who hails from S.F.'s notorious "Fillmoe" District and once spent time at Priority Records soaking up tycoon game from the likes of Master P and Ice Cube, announces his retirement from solo work at the very end of this, his 12th album. If he were leaving the rap world altogether, it would be a bummer for the local scene, which has taken many cues from the independent success of JT and his Getlow Recordz. But, as he explains on the uplifting "Who Grind Like Us?," he's ready to put all of his energy into doing what he does best: helping others get their start in rap. To that end, he's launched his long-in-the-making Black Wall Street University in the East Bay to offer classes for future independent black billionaires to plot their ascents. Still, his retirement comes as something of a surprise in light of how strong these songs are -- here he sounds at the top of his abilities, and is backed by clean and precise beats. JT has a knack for crafting catchy hooks (most cleverly on "We Can Get Low"), but he won't dip into the superficial territory occupied by so much radio rap. He's even writing rhymes that encourage women to strive ("Get on Ya Feet Girl"), themes rarely penned by people who aim their work at the streets. But that's how self-assured Big Fig is these days, and it sounds great.

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