Journalist was first truly noticed through his work with Canibus. Before their collaborations he was pretty much unknown, but the LL enemy helped shine some light on this Philadelphian artist.
The lead single, which provided the majority of the hype for the album is arguably the best track here. 'Extended Family,' which features M.O.P. contains a wealth of energy. M.O.P. and Journalist work well together and the DJ Premier mixed, Lil' fame produced beat works wonders. 'Lets Get Up' features a smooth, progressing beat which provides a perfectly created feeling of sinister movement. The lyrics are okay, and Journalist performs well, but the track is spoiled by its hook.
'Dialogue' is one of the most creative tracks on the album. It emerges from the perspective of an interview. A critic tries to organize an interview in a skit which ends the previous track, he then interacts with Journalist rapping his questions and Journalist rhymes his replies. The idea is good, but the track doesn't work due to its oddly toned beat.
'Scribes Of Life' though, as a whole is fairly unimpressive. The material isn't too poor, but the majority of it I can best define as average. The lyricism isn't as good as Journalist himself believes, and the beats don't fit the tracks lyrical content as well as they should. Even 'The Way It Used To Be,' a deep and meaningful track is unappealing due to its assembly. The beat and singing don't seem to add an air of sincerity but more so one of a tacky feel.
I had the pleasure of speaking to and interviewing Journalist recently, and the man is a genuinely nice and humble artist. The problem is that though his material is well performed the beats don't provide anything too unique, and though his lyrics are decent. They aren't what I'd opt for. 'Scribes Of Life' is not a bad album, but not a particularly great one.