Released: June 9, 2009
By: Aimee Villalobos
The ninth official studio album from Regan Farquhar, aka Busdriver, would easily break the word count feature on any computer. That being said, anyone who has ever heard one of his songs, let alone albums, knew this much going into it. Jhelli Beam takes Busdriver's need for vocabulary speed to a whole new level, and clarity tends to take a back seat because of it. Once distinguished, the lyrics on this album tend to be a bit more on the serious side, as opposed to past themes of more a comedic tone and self esteem quirks (i.e. 2005's Fear of a Black Tangent). The beats are as experimental as they ever were (listen for the Mozart sample in 'Me-Time (with Pulmonary Paalimpsets), though other tracks take a turn for the more commercial sound like album gem 'Least Favorite Rapper' featuring Nocando. Do not misunderstand me, this is a good album and anyone interested in hip hop out side the “booty shakin” jams of mainstream stations should look into Busdriver's repertoire. However, opening with Jhelli Beam is not recommended for first time listeners.