By Big Sto
Jurny Big and Peace 586 (both part of The Tunnel Rats) are pioneers in Hip-hop. I was five years old when LPG’s (a group featuring Jurny Big and Dax also of the Tunnel Rats) debut album Earthworm came out. I was eight years old when LPG dropped their sophomore album 360 Degrees and to this day I haven’t heard it. My introduction to Jurny Big and LPG was through their third album, The Gadfly, which came out in 2003. I ended up not hearing it until high school around 2006-07 and didn’t fully appreciate what The Tunnel Rats did during their tenure till years later. In 2011, Illect broke the news that Jurny Big and Peace 586 had linked and were going to be releasing music under The Battery. After releasing two EPs (properly named One & Two) the duo released their final EP together five years ago called The Change Up.
Jurny Big is not one to mince words and The Change Up is no different. Jurny picks up right where he left off on Two, coming for the fickle and slicing up anyone who dares stand up against “The Biggest of Them All.” The second track “Bitter Pill” sees Jurny calling out some of his peers and naming names. Publication Rapzilla is called out for their coverage of certain artists while completely ignoring artists like Jurny and some of the other Tunnel Rats. Jurny is constantly calling it as he sees it...because no one else is, whether because of money, reputation, stepping on toes etc. Jurny isn’t afraid to hurt feelings.
Peace 586 is one of the best producers to ever exist and there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I can’t pretend I know his discography front to back but, dear Lord, the evolution of Peace 586 over the last 20 years etches him as a legend. With The Battery, Peace and Jurny teamed up with instrumentalists to further flesh out the production and it works just as well as it did on Two. “Crack the Heavens” features Sojourn (of Tunnel Rats and Future Shock fame) and Manchild (of DeepSpace5, Mars ILL and Move Merchants fame) and also has a live deep bass line to really bring out the thumping production from Peace 586.
The biggest thing I’ve noticed in this Trilogy of albums is that Jurny is being more personal and opening up about his life past and present. Throughout the album, Jurny alludes to his life at home and talks about the fact that it’s not about fame or money for him. Seeing his children play and enjoy life is his mission. “HisShoes” (pronounced Issues) has Jurny going into detail about his childhood and the impact his father had on him. Jurny says “So I’m guessing my daddy taught me a lot/Some of which I did, but most of which I did not/Supposing he should get a smidgen bit of the credit/Cuz he’s the one that….nah forget it”. Anyone who's had a father or absent parent can relate to the pressure and weight that Jurny’s lyrics carry.
The album ends with a posse cut featuring The Tunnel Rats. The only ones missing are a few of the Future Shock artists. It’s the perfect way to end the album as fans (myself included) have been begging for some form of Tunnel Rat reunion for the last few years. Peace and Jurny delivered and it’s only fitting. Once finished, Peace 586 actually blessed us again with the instrumentals to the project and it’s worth listening to on their own as well. The Change Up is a knockout homerun and one that fans of The Tunnel Rats and raw Hip-hop need to listen to. Sharp, short, and poignant, all three albums in The Battery Trilogy have me praying one day we’ll get a full length from the epic duo.