James Ray, who's one-half of Aires Jackson, does his thing on this solo release, rapping about the ins and outs of the paper chase. He has a clean execution on tracks like "Cheers 2 U" and the UGK-tinged "Crucial," showing off varied approaches to the beat. The project includes features from King FOE (check for his dizzying rhymes on "Before I Die") and a bevy of movie samples and loops about motivation and inspiration. The dubstep-inflected "Loves Your Shit" and "Plane," featuring Yonnas Abraham, make the project feel a little trendy, yet the overall feel is true to the underground. For as grumpy as hip-hop is these days, it could use a little pick-me-up, and every one of James Ray's lyrics on Inspiration Aspiration Motivation provides just that. Ill rhymes and immaculate production make this one a keeper.