• Yordani Awono

VOICES OF BOSTON: The Art of the Finessement*

*based on the musical work, Proper Finessements by Jefe Replay.

Jefe Replay recently released his long awaited debut LP , Proper Finessements via PMF Entertainment. Released on 02/1/19 (02119), which happens to be the area code of Jefe’s hometown Roxbury, Proper Finessements is so much more than an album to his loyal, cult-like fanbase. It’s a sonic canvas for a billion-dollar mindset that Jefe hasn’t acheived, but is well on his way to. Taking note of some pretty significant concepts from the album that might make your life easier, I put together this short guide on the Art of Finessement*. Enjoy, and comment your favorite one below!

1. Trust the process

There is immense value in figuring things out for yourself and trusting the process. In “A Different Road”, Jefe begins with reflecting on the impact his authenticity has on his fans. This level of self-awareness Jefe possesses enables him to bypass the typical “flex” talk, and right to the importance of weighing risk and reward crooning - “Artist, Model, CEO / I had to take a different road”. His fans have been eager for his work, this album in particular due to a “1,000 follower” campaign on the AskForJUAN Instagram promising an album once the milestone was achieved. However, he doesn’t feel the need to rush. This makes sense – How could one express life without living it to the fullest? “I’m just takin’ trips / shit I never seen before / Artist, Model, CEO / Had to take a different road”. Jefe also speaks of his trip to SXSW where he performed at the Steady Leanin’ Official Showcase back in 2017 saying “we drove right down to Austin yeah / just a couple Boston kids / pack on me, blicky on me / yeah we had all of dem”. Jefe didn’t change who he was in light of a new opportunity, or because he was in a “new” place. Keeping ten toes down in the conditions aforementioned is key.

2. Achieving dreams isn’t free, and they don’t cost money

Roxbury Syrup, which was produced by Obeatz, is a sparkling soundscape emitting radiant confidence as an ode to dreams. Jefe reminds us in this record to take time to bask in our dreams. “I can’t sleep, tryna live my dreams / that’s why I be up workin’ ”. Thinking and putting in the work to manifest dreams, as well as having confidence in yourself to do so is what’s being celebrated here. The late night crusade is fought by few, but Replay’s smooth flow on the track lets us know that it definitely makes life a breeze.

3. Speak things into existence. Don’t hustle to be seen, build something for yourself.

Jefe is taking no prisoners when it comes to the bag, on the thunderous Tee Watt produced banger - Foreign Exchange. “I just left the bank / you flexin’ them racks/ I’m makin’ deposits ”; “fuck what you sayin cuz all the real JUANS / they bumpin my shit ” – criticism means nothing when the fans dig your music, or your customers are swearing by your product. As far as speaking things into existence goes, “Jefe might walk on the crowd / you know I make proper finessements”, and you need to look no farther than the cover where Replay floats over his followers. This was quite the unexpected move given the circumstances of the “crowd walk”. Truly a proper finessement.

4. Keep the real ones close.

“Ay yo f**k all you n****s individually”. The opening statement on Replay’s Headlights, another Obeatz production, makes it clear to the listener that all haters are getting aired TF out on this one. “N****s blatantly hatin' while I’m just watchin' / ain’t got no time for they foolishness or they nonsense” . The message is here is to keep the real ones close. Know who your opposition is because reacting isn’t the objective. Just know they can’t stand to see you lit. It’s the motivation in its most useful form. Nature’s indicator that you are blazing down the path to your destiny, singeing the unfit in your wake.

5. You’re responsible for no one's success but your own

‘Actin Different’ is Jefe’s reminder to himself, that he owes no one a damn thing. “They say he actin’ different on ‘em / They sayin how they switched up on ‘em / But n**** we was never homies / stop actin like you been there for me”. It’s always those who doubted you at the genesis of your greatness. “They” couldn’t possibly fathom your ability to achieve heights of success attained by the “greats”. While you are still on your way to the top, resentment ensues and you’re left with a sore loser trying to reach for your attention. Let their cries go unheard, and most importantly - stay the course.

6. Know your worth, never comprise

On the Ain’t Sh*t Freestyle, before Jefe rolls in with “I wake up and plot on the paper / if it ain’t bout a dollar then i’ll see you later” the skit audio where the guy is seemingly unprepared to face a daunting meeting, but remains unfazed. These two song elements join one another to provide a unified instruction to the keen hustler. The routine, and attitude described above is practiced byh someone who knows their worth. Prides themselves on planning for, and attaining wealth - and vanity doesn’t apply here. Have resolve, and name your price.

7. Remain unbothered, pettiness is best left in place

“Sips Tea” is a favorite all across the board, mother and child alike singing the anthem of empowerment. “They cannot stop me / y’all just gon copy / boy i dun peeped it, Sips tea (Woo)”. Familiar to his long time fans, new comers to Jefe’s catalog will find this song is a reminder that you’re the sh*t and that any one talkin’ pettiness ain’t sayin’ nothing but a word. You will experience a lot of tribulations, that’s just life. Take them on with ease, and know deep down that you will inevitably make it to the other side. Look back, sip tea, and on to the next one.

8. Self-care sustains you.

“Best For Me” is the guide to treating yourself. “You best believe, I’ll do whatever feel best for me / hop on the flight just to catch a breeze / Then i come back just to kill the trees”. He also refers to “mini-me’s” and not letting that “negaitvity get to me”. Which is the first place to start when you have that rare moment to unpack, destress, and re-asess your life’s direction. So it’s best to clear out all that’s behind you, and let your growth continue. The other point here is to go somewhere beautiful and just “be”. Exploration brings the childlike feeling of discovery in a place you’re fresh to. This is a rejuvenating source of happiness that’s a huge benefit of this finessement.

9. Keep your head down, and impress yourself for once

“Stay Ugly” is a mantra that has existed in many forms throughout the years, but no other phrase has the abrupt connotation of the phrase. This idea of sacrificing the sense of gratification that alludes most, is a key component of having your head together when things are looking rough and it seems like things are working out better for others. Time is your only expense when faring those late night hours, and 18+ hr days hustling to manifest your dreams. How long will you wait?

10. Greatness is a lifestyle

Last but not least - “Extraordinary Remix ft Maka”. “But I don’t blame you girl / you know i’m gon’ rule the world (aye) / and the universe / start out a shooter first (aye)”. Jefe’s muse in this record is giving it all up for him because she knows who he is. Not because he said it, but because he exemplifies it. Sold out shows, instant classic records, modeling, and the list goes on. How could she resist? Living in the vein of greatness brings more than success in worldly terms, but along with it, a power that amplifies one’s vigor and thirst for life. It all falls into place after that.

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