In over a decade, Los Angeles based emcee/producer Mr. J Medeiros and French producer/emcee 20syl have both evolved in their very own way, and yet sticked together to keep collaborating ever since their first one in 2005.
Mr. J Medeiros went from beloved indie hip hop group The Procussions, into new creative directions as a solo artist. From lo-fi boom bap on The Art Of Broken Glass, to jazz on The Procussions’ Up All Night, and from rock influences on Saudade, to an electronic touch on Pale Blue Dot, which we released on blue vinyl in collaboration with him, with on the B-side a remix by—there he is again—20syl, featuring Shad.
20syl, on the other hand, went from making jazz-hop gold with his brainchild Hocus Pocus, to turning platinum with DJ collective C2C’s Tetra, giving their own fresh take on French electro-pop. And exactly that influence of France’s rich history in electronic music, shapes the foundation for his productions for AllttA.
On the opening track Mr. J illustrates what he thinks it means to be “A Little Lower Than The Angels”—hence the acronym AllttA, inspired by bible verse Hebrew 2:7. Alta can also be interpreted as the meaning of ‘High’ or ‘Upper,’ or ‘the Hand above all.’ The combination of high and lower symbolizes a dual nature. That’s what the hand sign on the cover art shows: “The Upper Hand,” the album’s title and theme. Are you still with us?
Mr. J Medeiros is known for his meaningful, intricate lyrics. So as an addition to the album’s release, he took the time to explain every single line on Genius. Which adds a very interesting layer to be able to explore all references, metaphors, and depths of the album.
“The Upper Hand” is a 55-minute masterclass in intelligent rhymes, and original electronic productions in times of plastic.