Everyone is at least a little talented at at least something. Talent is something you can learn, it's something you can hone. Not everyone is gifted. Anybody with an ear to the streets, to the mixtapes, over the last year has been privy to something pretty remarkable. We've been witnessing Juelz Santana become one of the best MC's in the game. When he rhymes, with his Dipstet brethren, with his Dirty South homefolk (Young Jeezy, Lil Flip, TI), or just solo, Juelz has begun to let us in a secret.
He has a gift.
With What The Game's Been Missing, the hip-hop nation is headed back to Santana's town. Since emerging as the young lieutenant of the Cam'ron's Diplomats crew, Juelz has grinded out countless mixtapes heat roc's, become a fashion icon,
A funny thing happened to Juelz Santana on his way to making his sophomore album. He fell in love with music. This isn't to say that the young Harlemite didn't have love for music beforehand. But in making his new album, What The Game's Been Missing, Santana indulged his gift of gab by constructing his own studio.
"When you have your own place to make music, it becomes that much more of a priority. When you can dictate everything about your project that way, you start to really feel the music, feel every beat, every line. It becomes a part of you in a way that just doesn't happen when you're on someone else's dime and someone else's schedule."
You can feel the passion in the music. With the first two singles off What The Game's Been Missing, Santana has landed a 1-2 combo that still has hip-hop heads spinning. The royal horns of "Mic Check 1,2" and the absolutely addictive whistles of "There It Go" show off an even more focused Juelz Santana, tossing off ad-libs that other MC's would sign over there lives for ("Don't watch me. Watch T.V.")
"On my first album, I feel like I let a lot of things just go. This time around though, I felt like it was all on me. That's why I built my own studio. That's why I directed my own video. They always say, you wait your whole life to make that first album and pour your whole life into it. But I feel like this one, man, this is my baby."
So, what has the game been missing? "Leadership," says Santana, "Everybody is following everyone else, nobody is willing to be their own man, to be creative. It goes against what hip-hop is all about. The Dipset Movement is about forging our own path, people can go ahead and follow us."
Hip-hop fans will be following Juelz Santana for a long time to come.