Keeping It Real
Posted November 13, 2015
By DwayneLacy_NRT, Staff Reviewer
"One of the illest young emcees in the game" is one way to describe West Coast rapper John Givez. "Uncut and unapologetic" is another way to peg him. Givez, brother-in-law of Beleaf, is a rapper that has killed so many guest spots. Both he and his cousin JGivens are finding their way onto favorites lists. John Givez released a very highly anticipated new album this year.
The album, Soul Rebel, is his most ambitious offering to date. From the album cover to the use of some colorful language, he wanted to present his life in retrospect to present. That doesn't mean that his album is chock full of vulgar language, but it does mean that the album may not fit in some Christian settings and circles.
I love the way he kills the track while telling of the upbringing perils of his early life on "Elementary Trill" and the summer anthem "2004." He's likely to stir up some controversy by being descriptive in talking frankly about his sexual tryst with a girl in "Da Art of Storytellin' Pt. 5." Purity "stained", but his status as a "playa" was upgraded. "Playa Inheritance" has John explaining the depth of this lifestyle. The song is multilayered, with a Tribe Called Quest Hip Hop 101 simple beat for the verses, and then segueing into John and Kyra De'nae singing in unison (an octave apart) a la Outkast.
The album is meant to take you on a trip that will not be as good if it is not enjoyed in its entirety. His change of heart starts to take place with John doing his crooning in fittingly titled "A Playaz Change in Heart," featuring a hot 16 bars from cousin JGivens. "Chapter 29" sounds like it may be a few bars with a choir leading into a worship song, but it stays in the same vein as the rest of the album. Givez is stripped down, coming to God with no frills, passionately praying and asking if God has a plan for him.
I will admit that I was expecting John to come with a bunch of tracks that could highlight his flow. I was boxing John Givez in and not allowing him to tell his story and be his total self. Soul Rebel will make you uncomfortable, but will also make you take notice. I was disappointed on some points, but I was mostly pleased at this multilayered album.
Songs to Download Now:
"2004" and "Johnny Law" (Get them on iTunes here.)
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