If Jean Grae's last album, The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP, was a stiff middle finger to the male-dominated rap game (the chorus to the song "Hater's Anthem" was just the phrase "fuck you" repeated over and over), the New York MC is a little more reflective with This Week.
It's been a busy seven days for Grae. The songs give This Week a diary feel, illustrating conflicts, regrets, frustration, and loves lost. Grae's flow streams out of her conscience, as if she's having a revelatory dialogue with each listener. But her talent is in making these admissions sound new. "P.S." pours like gasoline dousing an old flame, and Grae's voice is thick with wouldas, couldas, and shouldas: "As you can tell I've done a lot of growing up/ And time goes fast with no sign of slowing up." This Week focuses more on the catharsis of writing for Grae, and several songs tug at those old frayed heart strings.
But with brutal honesty comes Grae's trademark sarcasm, thicker than blood here. She walks slowly, but she wields a sharp tongue, and she still has no love for haters who can't accept that estrogen can burn quicker than testosterone. When she delivers the line "Run through your 'hood with my middle finger up," you know Grae hasn't gone soft. She calls the shots here, and next week she'll come even harder. -- Audra Schroeder