After 11 years in the music industry and more than 575,000 albums sold, hip-hop veteran KJ-52 will be releasing his eighth studio album Dangerous on BEC Recordings on March 26. After thriving through the seamless transition between a cutting edge newcomer at the tip of the 2000s to one of today’s most respected and ambitious rap/hip-hop heroes, KJ-52 continues pushing the musical and lyrical envelope. In addition to KJ overseeing the album, it includes tag teams with producers Tedd T. (Mute Math, Delirious) and Aaron Sprinkle (Deftones, Hawk Nelson, Jeremy Camp).
“The theme that runs throughout the record is two fold,” states charismatic KJ-52. “The story’s set up with someone calling into a radio show and interviewing me about both the things out there that are dangerous to us and our faith, but also on the flip-side, of God calling us to live dangerously for Him. We have to be careful that we don’t give into the world, which is like drinking poison out of a gold cup. But as Christians, we can’t go along with the status quo or play it safe. There’s no room for laziness or complacency.”
While it would be easy for the six-time Dove Award winner and sought after collaborator (TobyMac, Newsboys, Thousand Foot Krutch) to rest on his laurels after more than a decade in the game, he aggressively walks that talk across Dangerous, while offering both listeners of faith and the mainstream scene plenty of reasons to relate. Dangerous also chronicles a series of compelling issues like drugs, divorce and racism, even the prejudice that sometimes pops up within the church’s walls. The latter is particularly evident across “They Like Me,” a collaboration with the Grammy nominated Lecrae.
Looking back on his career, KJ-52 reflects on what it means to have career endurance, especially as tastes and trends change practically overnight and many of his previous peers have since tapered out of the spotlight.
“Eleven years is really a lifetime in rap years,’” he suggests. “I think it’s a result of a lot of things, in part staying in tune with the fans, listening to them, listening to what’s going on musically, always staying on the road and looking to the future. Throughout it all, God’s provided and expanded my platform and He’ll continue to do that until it’s time to move on to whatever’s next.”
KJ-52 will take this new album on the road as he’ll be performing at the upcoming 2012 REVOLVE teen girl conference as well as the 4thirty1 Experience.
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KJ's Still Dangerous| Posted March 19, 2012 Eleven years is a long time to be in the music industry, especially for a Christian rapper. But KJ-52 isn’t your average artist and his seventh studio album, Dangerous, is evidence of this.
“The theme that runs throughout the record is God is calling us to live dangerously for Him,” says KJ-52. “We have to be careful that we don’t give into the world, which is like drinking poison out of a gold cup. But as Christians, we can’t go along with the status quo or play it safe. There’s no room for laziness or complacency.”
Featuring a variety of other artists, a diverseness of sound and lyrics that run the gamut from serious to downright hilarious, this album is far from boring.
The first track “It’s Goin’ Down,” get’s ya movin’ right off the bat with its catchy lyrics and hip-hop beats. You can’t help but bob your head and it doesn’t stop until the end of the last track. “They Like Me” is just one of several songs containing deep, meaningful lyrics that touch on sensitive topics most Christian artists avoid. Featuring fellow rapper Lecrae, the track talks about racism and how as Christians this shouldn’t be an issue. As Lecrae sings, “We don’t just relate, we are related through the Lamb,” KJ-52 agrees as the chorus repeats, “They like me, they say we shouldn’t get along ‘cuz of our different skin tones, but I promise you they’re all so wrong.”
Title track “Dangerous,” is another thought-provoking song, reflecting the seriousness of holding onto our past. KJ-52 warns, “Can’t forgive or forget, we hold on and it’s dangerous… living like we do is so dangerous.” Freedom only comes when we look forward instead of back.
Other tracks like “Do The Bill Cosby,” are nothing but fun, featuring a humorous description of how to dance like Bill Cosby. This will be a great song to experience live, as I can only imagine what this dance actually looks like.
“Speed That Light” pretty much summarizes the mission of KJ-52’s ministry as an artist. “I’m gonna speed that light, I’m gonna let Him shine, I’m gonna be that light til’ they all know Christ, til’ they all know life,” he proclaims.
Closing Thoughts: Kj-52 is a pro at blending humor, hope, and depth into every album, while still keeping the energy of hip-hop alive and movin’. Sometimes this style of music has the tendency for every song to sound the same--not so with this record. Each track is different, with its own message and individual sound. Just like the artist who created it, Dangerous is diverse and unlike any other in its genre. It’s clear that even after eleven years of creating music, KJ-52 hasn’t lost a beat.
4.5/5| Posted March 30, 2012
KJ-52's latest album, Dangerous, delivers quite a unique experience in that this is the most mainstream sounding he's been yet. These are songs that could appear on Top 40 radio stations and DJ playlists. But there is also some great diversity between these 12 tracks that make this one of the best rap almbums of the year so far. KJ's blend of serious, impactful, and humourous lyrics is still masterful as always. There is no single reason to not like this album and not have a great time listening to it.