“I’m the cat that stole the cheese from the mouse, who stands out like he forgot the keys to his house!” Armed with a name that seems fit for a superhero, Scram Jones also plays the part, an MC/DJ/producer hybrid, who definitely stands out with his multi-tasking abilities and throwback-like presentation of hip-hop material.
"Loose Cannons: The Mixtape" follows much in the same vein as other Sure Shot Recordings releases (see Consequence's "Take 'Em To The Cleaners" or Saigon's "Warning Shots"), as it beholds a gritty, close-to-home theme that showcases just enough New York flavor to make it taste like home-cooking without making the guests (listeners outside of the New York area) feel unwelcome. With Scram enlisting an eclectic NYC lineup that seems to span from the mid-'90s straight through to the present, hip-hop's version of a superhero creates a tight-knit mixture of tracks that comes off as a clever "Who's who?" anthem for the streets of New York.
Scram's guest list surprisingly includes everyone from the long lost (Sean Price on "Remember Me") to the long-time-no-see (Tragedy Khadafi on "Fallback") with Jones himself navigating the 5 boroughs and joining in the feast at times as well. Seeing Brooklyn newcomer Papoose paired with former Jay-Z protégé Sauce Money ("Sick the Dogs on 'Em"), who show-stealingly spits, "These streets is vicious, That's why I named all of my killers 'surf-n-turf,' they know how to bring beef to the fishes," throws the disc back to 1996 over a canine-laced Scram production effort.
Not to be forgotten either are Scram's vocal contributions on "64 Bit," an ode to the Nintendo era, and "Panic Room," where Jones' proclaims, "I'm like a refugee in a raft 'cause I don't give a f--k how I come across!" His tongue-in-cheek and playful rhythm and tone often brightens up the darkest New York 'hood tale without coming across as forced or fatal to his throwback style of producing tracks that seem to portray an early to mid-'90s feel.
With the exception of Scram, the true winners and "loose cannons" of the disc emerge in the form of the shamelessly self-promoting Saigon, whose contributions to the disc solidify him as a coming force in hip-hop, and the oft-forgotten Nature. Scram's seeming infatuation with Queensbridge's Nate (who has been featured on past S.J. mixtapes) brings out the pre-"For All Seasons" Nature, as he plays catch with Noreaga on "Class of Sizzurp," "airs it out" with Scram Jones and Jack Venom, and "lets off" on his solo effort. Where have you been locked up at, Nature?
At a time when terms like "superproducer" get tossed around more than the debut release dates of also-included emcees Jae Hood and Ali Vegas, Scram Jones brings it all to the table with an unheard-of cornucopia of skills behind-the-boards and on the mic. As a solid producer and emcee (not to mention one helluva DJ), Scram Jones is anything but a loose cannon on "Loose Cannon: The Mixtape,” with tightwad transitions from track-to-track that seamlessly integrate a variety of tactics to smoothly keep the album moving along.
Even superheroes forget the keys to their house every now and then. Luckily for him, the “stand-out” Scram Jones even knows how to flip that into something positive: an exalted mixtape effort that keeps within the short tradition of Sure Shot Recordings and locks his name down as one to watch in the future.