KJ-52 has been in the business of making hip-hop for almost ten years now, having become one of the most popular artists in Christian music today. However, those who have not heard this music-making-aholic's debut release 7th Avenue, may not even know who they are listening to when they toss it in the car stereo. As a matter of fact, they may not even recognize the guy sporting the hoodie or Kangol hat in the CD jacket. With all of these changes, one wonders if classic KJ can live up to the familiar music we've all grown to love. The answer is an emphatic "yes."
While this may not be the KJ pop/rap that you are used to hearing, it is a more raw sound and it comes out nicely. There are so many great tracks that it's hard to just mention the details of a few. "The Hardway" is a track about learning through making mistakes which displays clever lyrics. "Keep Ya Head Up" showcases great production coupled with a smooth R&B chorus, while "We Rock The Mic" delivers an old school party sound. "Integrity" is a song that pokes fun at what today's secular rappers have all over their own albums, while "Do What I Do" lyrically showcases the album's focus, stating "I keep it Jesus, nothing more, nothing less."
Will all the highlights, the best track on 7th Avenue would have to be "It's The S.O.I," where the point is to represent God to the fullest - with meaningful lyrics like, "This ain't a game, though we was in Athens Coliseum. Being cheated while crying, getting ate by lions, showing faith while we dying, as we wait for I Am." Completing the album on a serious note are "They Know Not" and "This Is Love."
The hour-long session includes solid guest spots from Knowdaverbs, Goldin Child, and members from Grits and The Cross Movement. The typical KJ skits are ever present; some which are hilarious and some which are not. And while the overall sound of the album is much different than what we're used to, this remains a great album. I grabbed my copy back in 2002 and I still spin it on occasion today.- Review date: 2/25/09, written by Kevin Hoskins
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