A post to her MySpace page earlier this year led many fans to believe that Jean Grae had disappeared from the rap game for good. Frustrations with the “industry” and fatigue from the long-delayed release of her full-length with producer 9th Wonder had left the NYC rapper contemplating a career switch. Originally scheduled to hit shelves in 2004, Jeanius finally got an official release in July via Talib Kweli’s Blacksmith label, showcasing her acrobatic eloquence and icy punctuality, attached to 9th Wonder’s funky chipmunk soul. Four years of waiting may have bleached the album of its immediacy, but Grae’s skills are still undeniable. Whether she meant to refer to her headstrong persona or her hip-hop occupation, Grae’s chorus on “This World” reassures the underground that it hasn’t lost one of it’s sharpest talents quite yet: “I’ll be doin’ Jeanie ’til [this world] fades out.”
JEAN GRAE PERFORMS WITH MR. LEN AND MARK DE CLIVE-LOWE AT 9 P.M. AT THE BLACK CAT, 1811 14TH ST. NW. $18. (202) 667-4490.