Reviewed by Tracy Darlington
The Yearbook by KJ-52
"KJ's vocals are clear, the lyrics understandable, and the music crisp ... up to par with anything Kanye West and Scarface are dishing out..."
It’s been a great year for KJ52. His album sales have surpassed 500,000 units, he’s won a Dove award, and he’s been nominated for two more. His latest self produced project, The Yearbook, gives you a snapshot of what this hip-hop Tampa Florida rapper is capable of. Seven years and five albums into his career he’s had such hits as “Five-Tweezy” and “Dear Slim” (a song written for Eminem). KJ says, “I am both thrilled and awed by the things that have taken place recently, and I can’t wait to share them with the world.”
This latest album branches out from his predominantly hip-hop feel to a wide variety of musical styles: rock and roll, rap, urban hip-hop, with a little 60's, 70's, and R&B thrown in for good measure. Fans of the many pop culture references he’s been so fond of using on earlier cds need have no worries, as this project is full of them. KJ’s sense of humor shines through in “Do Your Thang”, which also has the most catchy bass line. Rock and roll purists will appreciate the cut “You’ll Never Take Me Down” (featuring Kevin Young of Disciple). Keeping with his tradition of including guest appearances from other bands and artists, he also includes Toby Morell of Emery, Ayiesha Woods, Blanca Reyes of Group 1 Crew, and Liquid.
KJ seems to deal with more serious issues on this project, when he’s not being silly, that is. Like “Fanmail” (think “Dear Slim”), which is based on actual letters he’s received from fans. And “5 Minutes In the Garden” focuses on Jesus’ Garden of Gesthemane turmoil: “Through the trees the soldiers sped from the west – They’re getting closer and closer for me to arrest.” But there are also some strange and quirky lyrics in The Yearbook. Unforgettable lines more consistent with his previous albums abound: “It smells like an animal died between your teeth”. KJ’s vocals are clear, the lyrics understandable, and the music crisp.
Yearbook is up to par with
anything Kanye West and Scarface are dishing out in quality. Only his message
is edifying and non-violent. You can hear
he’s having fun, and you’ll have fun too. A must for the iPod
as well as the car.
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.