Jay-Von and producer Yphoenxix add new fire to an old flame on the Hooked on Vonxix: Extra Credit LP.

Jay-Von loves to talk about wack rappers. The Houston emcee has made a point to call out wack rappers directly in many of his most recent freestyles, and even spoke to Day & A Dream editor-in-chief Brandon Caldwell about how harmful they are to the culture.

This isn’t new for Vonzilla, however. In fact, as early as 2012, Jay-Von donned a cape and attempted to save poor emcees from themselves. Nearly five years ago, he paired up with producer Yphoenxix – whose attention he caught back when SF2’s “Kickback Sundays” series was in its hey-day – to create a complete LP, Hooked on Vonxix. The two were initially going to collaborate on an EP, but their chemistry and the quality of work (“I was just really impressed by his work ethic,” Yphoenxix says of Jay-Von on Extra Credit’s intro track) led to something larger.

Now, in 2017, Jay-Von and Yphoenxix have revived the project as Hooked on Vonxix: Extra Credit, a re-release of the old with a few new bonus tracks added in. On the semi-concept album, Jay-Von tells the story of “Mr. Smith,” a fictional teacher in the 2000s who has developed a program created for wack rappers.

“Mr. Smith teaches his students through various lessons while also being taught a few himself,” Jay-Von said in describing the project, “but Mr. Smith also learns a few things himself from the greatest teacher of all time, life. He experiences relationship troubles, deaths, bullying and many other things, trying to remain positive until he eventually reaches a breaking point.”

Jay-Von’s latest marries vivid stories with “class is in session” tracks as a fictional teacher.

Though in concept Hooked on Vonxix is funny in places, it also shows Jay-Von is much more than just a punchline rapper. Producer Yphoenxix provides outstanding instrumentation that ranges anywhere from smooth melodies (“Another Day Another Dollar”) to pure West Coast boom-bap bops (“Show N Tail” and the riding “Class is Dismissed”).  The boardman brings out some of the best in Jay-Von’s storytelling (“Ghetto P.O.V.” is engrossing and drops listeners on the street right next to Jay-Von as he “reports live,” while “Mo Betta Blues” pays homage to the same-named Spike Lee joint with a sample from the movie and draws inspiration from the real life story of legendary MC, the D.O.C.). And as Hooked on Vonxix’s sole feature, Jess Jones sparkles alongside Vonzilla on “What’s Love.”

Stream Jay-Von & Yphoenxix’s Hooked on Vonxix: Extra Credit album for yourself down below. Jay-Von has insisted that, while this project itself is a redux, he and Yphoenxix have more to come later headed our way this year.

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