[25 January 2007]
Hall of Justus, otherwise known as the Justus League, is a team of up-and-coming rappers and producers from North Carolina who have been lingering on the popularity medium for what seems like quite some time. But if Soldiers Of Fortune is any indication, the stifling is self-inflicted, as consistency is at a disappointing minimum. As with any posse cut, Fortune is over-packed with emcees, and since Phonte and Big Pooh—the rappers with the most exposure from their Atlantic-signed Little Brother—have the most recognizable voices and styles, the tracks without them seem like a mishmash of voices set to flickering soul beats. “Tour of Duty”, the lengthiest (and most tedious) cut on the record, in addition to synth-stringed “Jus Chillin’”, feature the Hall of Justus crew, and while the beats roll along, the rappers seem faceless as the focus swings from voice to voice. The album is unquestionably packed with great one-liners, but without the album credits readily available, the record might as well be a one-man show. But like all Justus League releases, the beats are essentially the shining stars, with 9th Wonder’s chop-and-flipped “Tired”, and Khrysis’s “Do It Again”, as some of the gutsiest soul beats of their repertoire. So for beat junkies, Soldiers of Fortune is a sure bet, but for an album without such a schizophrenic personality, stay tuned for the next solo venture from the League.