We R The Lost is a self-proclaimed underground hip hop collective from Milwaukee consisting of dancers, MCs and producers. United by a sense of externally received criticism and displacement within the music community, they chose to adopt the socially “lost,” misunderstood sentiment and create their own movement. At the forefront of the group and label, Jon Briggz enlists the work of several homies to create his newest tape, Still Lost, which The Lost self-released on April 13, 2015.
Jon Briggz’s Still Lost sports features from fellow collective members Bili Ro$e, Damir Bolo, and SirCastro, with outside assistance from T. Harris, Charlie Brigante, Slim Ali, Nova, DerelleRideOut and Mister Mammoth. The album contains 10 total songs, clocking in at around 27 minutes of pure hip hop music.
Still Lost absolutely does not resonate with my conception of underground hip hop. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Underground hip hop explores forms like Madvillainy, J Dilla, Aesop Rock, AOTP, etc.; less widespread sounds with eccentric idiosyncrasies and edgier lyrics. However, as opposed to limiting itself to underground hip hop, Still Lost contains well-executed instrumentals with mainstream appeal. The production on the tape impresses substantially. The album begins with boom bap cut “I’m Spotted,” then circles back with the soul-sampling outro song “You Made It.” Sprinkled in between exists pretty damn good layering, sampling, transitions, and overall vibes. The production sets the appropriate foundation for Jon’s vision of how each song materializes.
The hype rap song “New Black” picks up the tempo, but unfortunately, the hook falls flat. “The Times” speaks on contemporary problems with the police and how recent events are just a product of the times. The “Gold” skit sees Jon speaking a poem about self-reflection and vanity. I definitely dig what he’s trying to do but including skits on such a short project seem counter-intuitive.
Unfortunately, the production on Still Lost outshines the rhymes. Jon Briggz boasts a nasally, high-pitched flow similar to that of Logic, minus the rapidity. His rhymes remain fairly basic and he doesn’t manage to switch up his flow enough. Additionally, the hook game needs some work. Regardless, there are moments during Still Lost when Briggz’s verses impress, such as “X” and the gritty cut “Lost”:
This shit still get ill, tell em how you feel // I say I got the juice, they probably give that shit to steal // I’ma keep my lips sealed // But they gon’ be scarred for life // lyin’ did not get the job done tonight.
Where the lyricism lacks, the features on Still Lost thrive. Charlie Brigante provides a quality verse on “X” to start the song, and the A$AP Rocky-like hook fits the instrumental perfectly. “Say the Word” enlists the help of T. Harris, singing the hook with quality lowkey chill rhymes from Jon. The inebriated autotuned hook by Bili Ro$e on my personal favorite song, “Influence,” makes for the most radio-friendly track on Still Lost.
Still Lost is not perfect by any means, but the tape impresses with respect to its superb production and the chemistry between the featured artists. Jon often struggles with nailing hooks but employs features that can do so. It’s refreshing to see artists sacrifice their own mic time in order to create a better product. Despite his average flow and lyricism, Jon proves that he will continue to work in perfecting his craft, and we are keen to see development on his future projects.
Stream Still Lost below and let us know what you think in the comment section!