KJ-52's 7th full-length album Dangerous impresses.
KJ-52 is a tough nut to crack. Dangerous
marks the 7th full-length album from the man who may be the hardest working dude in the business. And that’s not a statement I make lightly.
KJ-52 has been going strong for over a decade, despite what you think of him, despite how he is mocked by “elite” rappers, the guy keeps blazing a trail and continuing to not only write and work on his own material, but to collaborate with the BEST in the business. If these other players can give KJ-52 respect, isn’t it about time the haters do the same? Like any artist, you can take it, or you can leave it…
Blue eyes, white skin, brown hair... rapper?
Dangerous is no different. If you hated KJ-52 before, this album will do absolutely nothing to change your mind… although you’d be ignoring all of the awesome beats and dope spits from collaborating rappers who make their mark known on this album, including the almighty LeCrae. Other collaborators on Dangerous include This’l, George Moss, Canton Jones, Rhema Soul and Dre Murray. Female vocals on some songs are provided by Emily of Shine Bright Baby. All of it comes together to offer a fantastic album from beginning to end, and a diverse one. It’s an album where I like almost every track, always a positive thing.
KJ-52 is at his best when he is telling stories, or creating songs that are outright ridiculous and wholeheartedly goofy (see: “Do the Bill Cosby”). As it stands, and as it has always stood, KJ-52 cannot get by on his rap skills (or lack thereof) on its own, and my favorite songs always end up being the ones where KJ-52 is not doing the majority of rapping. While that may sound like an extremely harsh thing to say and a real knock on the artist, it is DESPITE this fact that KJ-52 is still able to craft some amazing and great songs. And that, to me, speaks volumes. You cannot deny this man’s work ethic, and all of his albums, Dangerous included, drip with the passion of a man whose sole purpose is to spread the love of Christ and speak his mind through rapped lyrics; damn the critics. And I wholeheartedly embrace his approach.
Kj-52 has been highly successful in the Christian scene, winning four Dove Awards for his rap music.
What’s further is that he has proven his ability to craft songs that tell interesting stories and pull on the heartstrings, and that is an art in its own right. If you know KJ-52′s past albums, you know this fact to be true (see songs like “#1 Fan” from the album “It’s Pronounced Five-Two”). KJ-52 also has the ability to craft catchy, singable choruses and absolutely dope music to go along with his rapping sections, which in all cases elevates the whole and manages to make up for the lack of skillfull rapping.
Let’s face it, no one else would do the kind of songs KJ-52 does, collaborating with everyone from hardcore gangsta rappers to bubbly-sweet pop singers, to mixing it up with rock artists to combining rap with comedy skits and pumping out worship hits that would fit perfectly well on a CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) setlist… Dangerous does all that and does it well. And despite what I said above about most of my favorite KJ-52 songs being the ones where others rap besides KJ-52, he still manages to hold his own in a number of tracks. Additionally, and this has been true in the past as well (and mostly true with music in general), KJ-52′s songs grow on you the more you listen to them, Dangerous being no exception. And after a while your misgrievings about his lack of rap skill are dropped and you just embrace the music in front of you. I mean who really gives a crap? Music is music, and KJ-52 creates some great music on his albums. Period.
When I first dove into Dangerous, it had been years since I had listened to a new KJ-52 record. I will dig him up from time to time and listen to his past albums, but the last new KJ-52 album I bought was “Behind the Musik”. In retrospect, I think I really enjoyed that album, and yet for some reason I see it with negative eyes and seem to want to think of it as his weakest album to that point. Maybe it’s because I lost some interest with KJ-52 after that point, because I never got around to picking up any of his proceeding albums until Dangerous dropped on April 3rd, 2012 (BEC provided me with a free review copy of the final Master).
I will make some more (some would say outlandish) comments regarding KJ-52 near the bottom, as well as go into his past and his entire discography, but before I do that I want to really spend time looking at Dangerous objectively and reviewing the album track-by-track. So here we go!
Track #1. It’s Going Down (Featuring Canton Jones)
Dangerous starts off with a bang by giving us this rough and wild club banger. This is a pretty strong opening track, and its one in which you expect KJ-52 to be joined by another rapper, but he is the one rapping throughout. This track has some bite to it and that’s always a good thing. As has always been the case with KJ-52, his rapping skills stand out much stronger on some tracks than on others, and this is one of those tracks. Although not the best on the album. Overall this track is a winner in my opinion and “It’s Going Down” is one of my favorites on the album. A HIGHLIGHT for sure.
Track #2. They Like Me (Feat. Lecrae)
NOW THIS is a collaboration worth praising. And this is arguably the track that will compel most people, especially those who either love LeCrae and the 116 Clique and have never heard of or listened to KJ-52, or those who love KJ-52 but haven’t picked up one of his albums in a while, to go out and get Dangerous. That’s because seeing these two “titans” come together is definitely a treat.
And those who may have dismissed KJ-52 in the past or saw him as a wannabe rapper who didn’t have the skills to pay the bills, will likely do a double-take and pick up this track or this album just because of the fact that the almighty LeCrae (arguably the best and most exciting Christian rapper in the business and arguably the best the Christian rap game has seen in years) has deemed KJ-52 worthy of a collaboration. IMHO this REALLY elevates both of these guys. It elevates LeCrae because it shows that he is willing to work with ANYONE who shares his passion for spreading the gospel, and that he doesn’t judge no matter what others think of that individual. And it elevates KJ-52 because it proves that his work ethic is so strong, and he has such a diverse audience, that rappers know they’ll get exposure they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten by collaborating with KJ-52. It also shows that KJ-52, despite what you think of his skills as a rapper, is respected in the Christian rap scene, and people enjoy working with the guy. Read the rest of this entry »