Don’t sleep on Jon Jon Scott–owner, operator and executive producer at record label and production company Black Corners—he seriously hits a tough stride with Villa Rosa’s Blue Diamond Island. The Villa Rosa duo is better known as hip-hoppers Maria Isa & Muja Messiah.
Scott says of the pairing: “Maria Isa has been known as that [Latina] rapper-singer hot mama with political instincts and a strong representative of her Puerto Rican heritage. On Blue Diamond Island I wanted folks to see Maria Isa as [an] MC who can hold her own against anyone on the mic and is a great songwriter.” And, about Muja Messiah, Scott’s aim is for audiences “to see another side … that wasn’t macho, drug-dealer talk or negative toward women, [contrary to] perception and stereotypes of many young black men. While Muja Messiah has been known to do his share of “tough talkin’” and “keeping it real” he’s also emotions no different than a Nas or Gangstarr traveling down the road many rappers from urban environments live, work and play in.”
Fine. I’d already trashed Maria Isa in print awhile back. And, Muja who? Never heard of him. Basically, wouldn’t know Villa Rosa from nails scratching on a wall. Thing is, Jon Jon Scott believes like a big dog—won’t let up. Anybody that insistent, you owe it to him to at least listen to what he’s giving such a hard sell, which I did. Weren’t, altogether, a half-bad experience.
Off Blue Diamond Island, “Blindfolded” and “Leader of the Pack” kick everybody’s ass and take names. Departing from run-of-the-mill, “Blindfolded” kills—nasty-sweet with Reggae melody and poetic lyrics in a strong groove. “Leader of the Pack” similarly mesmerizes, blending these artists’ styles in an R&B-funk-laced call to strut out on the dance floor, shake and swivel one’s hips. On these cuts, Isa brandishes sinewy vocal phrasing. Messiah masterfully understates. The rest of the album ain’t a whole lot to write home about, leaning mainly on lyrical rhetoric and musical formula. Still, “Blindfolded” and “Leader of the Pack” break serious ground.
Bottom line: With Jon Jon Scott’s Black Corners Productions weighing in, there might just be a new sheriff in town.
Photo courtesy Villa Rosa