KJ’s 11th studio album and first independent release, Jonah, will come January 20, 2017. KJ's real name, Jonah Sorrentino, serves as the inspiration for what he describes as his “most transparent/humorous/serious/entertaining and poignant tracks” to date.
“The grind of life can really wear on your creativity but this newest project that I’ve been working on could be the most powerful stuff I’ve done since the beginning of my career,” he wrote. “The new record was inspired by my real name and reflects the transparency of how I’ve been feeling in my current writing.”
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Hold On (feat. Curt Anderson)
Get Down Get Down
More of You, Less of Me (feat. Whosoever South)
Best Day Ever (feat. Chris August & Mr. Talkbox)
A Reintroduction| Posted March 03, 2017
KJ-52 could easily have decided to walk away after a largely successful effort over his 16-year run in Christian hip-hop, a span of time including Dove Award wins, features with some of Christian music's finest, and even setting a Guinness World record for freestyle rapping. Instead of calling all that good enough, he initiated a fresh start with an indie effort fueled by his faithful fan base, aiming to connect even more intimately with his listeners. Jonah stands as the beginning for the next chapter in KJ-52's treasured career, demonstrating all over again that KJ possesses range, skill, and a presence in the genre few others have been able to duplicate.
With Jonah, the tracklist may be short, but the list of features and quality content combines for one of his best projects to date. You can feel KJ's personal freedom, attention to quality and ever-evolving skill behind a microphone throughout each of the eight tracks. KJ took it a step further and has video snippets available for most of the tracks, providing a visual interpretation of the concepts.
The first single, "Hold On" featuring Chris Anderson, is an open dialogue representing the "what ifs" during KJ's career, recounting the many obstacles he overcame related to bullying, never feeling quite good enough and the white rapper stigma. Most of the team at Reflection Music Group (RMG) makes appearances spanning two tracks, with "Nah Bruh" and "Know About It" featuring Derek Minor, B. Cooper and CANON. That makes it easy to see why these two are the most lyrically strong efforts.
"Best Day Ever" features Chris August and Talkbox, sharing daily encounters we can all relate to as turning bad days into God days. "Get Down, Get Down" returns the staple comedic side of KJ. Jonah is rounded out by a few additional Christ-centric tracks reminding us why KJ-52 has endured through nearly two generations of CHH preeminence and is still seen as one of the true pioneers of the genre.
The Bottom Line: This album is short but focused. Even though Jonah has more of an EP feel, the concepts, quality and heart poured into it give the listener a sense of completion similar to that of a full-length LP. A ton of fuel clearly remains in the reserves as KJ-52 continues to be an artist to watch and expect greatness from.
Song to Download Now:
"Know About It" featuring Derek Minor (Get it on iTunes here.)
(Collaborative effort on this review provided by Dwayne Lacy.)