J-Zone is the most hilarious producer/rapper that the majority of you never heard of. From the senior musical project-turned-album Music for Tu Madre to the defining Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes, J have never tried to be anything but himself. A true lover of music, he would rather dig in dusty crates than hang out with the opposite sex on unjustifiable, arbitrary dates. Considered a curmudgeon of comedic writings, Mr. J. Mumford is actually more than that. With Root for the Villain, the reader gets to glimpse into the mind of a man that is more concerned with musical missions than mundane foolery.
J-Zone’s step into the arena of music was suited more for retroactive respect to forefathers than evolutionary exchanges of popular propaganda. To be concise, J-Zone is truly an “old school artist”. Not many rappers, DJs, or even grown men have yet admitted to completely busting their nocturnal emission cherry to a dream that involves Darlene (Ice T’s former boo). Nor are they going to even begin to tell you why Tim Dog, No Face, and Suga Free are true inspirations to their rap style. Even more interesting is the correlation between EPMD and how their funk sampling drew him even closer to hip hop. Within this personal tome, we see man look at his upbringing with a reformed glee.
Yet, situations in his upbringing weren’t always on a positive note. He always had a problem with the females due to the recitation of misogynistic lyrics. Many thought he was weird due to his musical tastes and eclectic dress. Plus, his decision to be a musician wasn’t the most warranted around his house due to the brashness of his lyrics. As much as an individual as he was/is, J-Zone was always relegated to being a misunderstood weirdo.
Funny thing is this: for the most part, J-Zone always had enough confidence and self-opinion to never stoop to sacrifice his dignity. All of this, along with the previous, is addressed profoundly throughout this first-person manuscript.
The Musical Menagerie
After reading this book, one can’t help but have a reformed respect for what he actually accomplished musically. Going from an intern in Slick Rick’s studio to touring the world, J-Zone made it all happen with little compromise. He even had the audacity (rightfully so) to turn down major label deals. With a crew of cronies (Al Shid and Huggy as Old Maid Billionaires), J-Zone made the most of his independent hustle. Regardless to small time sales, he made music and made money to keep his career going.
Hitherto, within the chapters “Rise and Slip” and “The Quitter”, the reader bears witness to a firsthand account of how it felt to see it all the success swiftly slide into the gutter. The reader learns why the Old Maid Billionaires didn’t work out. Also, J-Zone provides bit by bit detail of how his distribution deal went sour and how his last show came and went without much fanfare. Even the account of his signature “failure feast” is given with vivid imagery. Only J-Zone could make “fiasco” so appealing to a reader’s eyes.
Fecal Matter in the Air
What come off even more hilarious than his musical musings are his charismatic, character observations. From chapters dealing with finding 9-5 jobs to even exploring the “gadget hoe”, the comedic fix comes in lush proportions for your reading addiction. Only J-Zone can explain how Kanye West would never be caught dead re-racking U.S. Polo Association shirts at Sears. Only J-Zone can break down the price of text messaging and how it isn’t for his budget-laden lifestyle. Only J-Zone can break down the “Six Deadly Sins in the Grown Folks’ Playground”. Notwithstanding, only J-Zone can explain different characterizations of people in society with the most offensively comedic air about himself.
Even more hilarious is the anecdotes given about the opposite sex. Whether he is equating courtship to a boxing match or relationships to cars, J-Zone will construct his opinion with a sense of smarminess and offensive behavior that gets the point across. Justifiably, he even questions why pro athletes and famous entertainers even entertain the idea of marriage, Kelis issues being a motivating factor. Many may think that he is a bitter curmudgeon (a word favorite of his) that only thinks negatively about situations. Instead, he is more than that. Instinctively, people need to see that J-Zone is a man with high sensibilities and a low tolerance for mental fecal functions.
Root for the Villian is a harsh man’s autobiographical take on a harshly comedic reality of entertainment, society, and moral responsibility. Many will be taken aback by his raw, tactless approach to speaking his mind. Others, however, will nod in agreement due to the fact that they either know what he is referring to or understand why he feels the way he feels. Regardless of whose side you on, you will either agree with him or you won’t. J-Zone could care less. His main concern is collecting enough money to get Mitch “Blood” Green put on a postage stamp.