The final instalment in D-Sisive's Jonestown trilogy is both bleak and brilliant.
Freakishly prolific local rapper D-Sisive is one of the best storytelling rappers in the game today. That’s an unqualified statement. He’s not one of the best storytelling rappers in the city, or in Canada. When it comes to narrative rapping, the man occasionally known as Derek Christoff is absolutely one of the best in the world.
On his newest release, Jonestown 3: The Dream Is Over—which is the final album in his Jonestown trilogy—D creates a series of almost cinematic songs that are often dark, occasionally witty, and always moving. Many of the tracks are stories. “Friend of Mine” is an almost painfully relatable song about heartbreak, “Station 135” is a riveting story about love and heroism, and “WhenWeDieWeDieTogether” consists of two different stories about losing loved ones. “WhenWeDie,” in particular, is actually much less depressing than it sounds, courtesy of a surprisingly catchy chorus and a tone that’s more wistful and bittersweet, as opposed to outright bleak. (You can listen to it by clicking on the sample above.)
Though D-Sisive is a gifted storyteller, he started life as a battle rapper. That side of his persona comes through on wordplay-heavy songs like “Not One Candle” and “All My Friends are Dead.” Even the darkest songs on the album are filled with sharp references, layered metaphors, and well-structured bars, which makes the sombre subject matter much easier to swallow.
Jonestown 3 is made all the more potent by its production, which comes courtesy of frequent D-Sisive co-conspirator Muneshine, who was also the beatmaker on the previous two Jonestown records. While most producers have a signature sound, Muneshine is a Swiss army knife. He’s able to pull off everything from the laid-back and organic sound of “Friend of Mine” to the pounding industrial tension of “Banana Bread,” all without too much trouble.
Judging by a a recent email missive, it seems as if D-Sisive is going to take some time away from rap following this album. If that’s the case, he couldn’t walk away on a better note.