Brooklyn, New York MC J-Live embarks on an East Coast tour this week to support his latest release, Then What Happened, out now on BBE Records. The new album features producers Jazzy Jeff, Oddisee, and Numark, who ease in reggae samples, supple scratching, and jazzy riffs on the 13-track release bursting with Live’s wry observations and odes to hip-hop’s past, present, and future.

A former middle-school teacher, J-Live is sounding hungry on his fourth album since 1995. Then What Happened dropped May 27 and contains a fresh batch songs imbued with Live’s dexterous wordplay and no-nonsense commentary. With his signature cascading rhymes and pointed social observations on tracks like “Be No Slave” and “We Are!,” it’s easy to see why guests like Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na and De La Soul’s Posdanous wanted to be on this recording. On “The Zone,” Live sums up his sentiment rhyming: “I rock $#!t like this to give ya ashbacks/ To when rap didn’t sounds like asscrack/ Back to when you was wack, you got laughed at/ Not souped up and jacked for your ASCAP”

Anyone who has seen or heard J-Live’s live freestyles knows that he has a story-teller’s ability to keep the listener locked in. Check it out for yourself when he swing through the East Coast later this month.

06/03: Charlotte, NC: The Evening News
06/04: Raleigh, NC: Cat’s Cradle
06/11: Orlando, FL: The Social
06/13: Chicago, IL: Subterranean
06/27: Albany, NY: Red Square
07/03: Cleveland, OH: Grog Shop
07/05: Pittsburgh, PA: Shadow Lounge
07/25: New York, NY: Knitting Factory

Photo by Corren Conway of Forever12.