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Just Jack: 'Writer's Block'

Just Jack is an ordinary bloke with a not so ordinary craft.
Just Jack is an ordinary bloke with a not so ordinary craft.

Jack Allsopp, who records and performs under the name Just Jack, is a moody Brit-hop artist who deftly mixes hip-hop with samples, '80s electro beat machines and a touch of funk. The result from this Camden native is danceable and literate.

Just Jack lacks the bravado or swagger of other rappers. His lyrics are more sedate, sometimes pessimistic, and his voice is reserved. Meditations on break-ups, hedonism and other seedy city tales are set against a steady, thumping bass.

The opening cut, "Writer's Block" contains all of Just Jack's signature elements: '80s electro-pop sensibilities cut with downcast lyrics. The interview sample heard at the beginning comes from Mary Rand, an Olympic gold medalist from the '60s. Cellos and violins lend a sly trip-hop playfulness.

Just Jack's unique mix can be attributed to an early passion for DJ culture, 90's house music and an inconsistent career track. Like his fellow Brit-hop artists, such as The Streets, Just Jack doesn't attempt to personify the hardships of urban living, which makes his music more appealing to club kids rather than trip-hop purists.

"I'm not part of a scene and I don't have a sound that is obviously part of a scene," says Allsopp. "I'm just Jack."

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