Oi, I know what your asking, where have all the Gospel blokes and geezers in the U.K. been? Well, apparently they’ve been around and we just haven’t known about it. Recently I had the chance to review the debut album of London born chap Jahaziel. Now I’m not one to hold prejudice, but I cringed at the title of the disk “Ready to Live.” With a debut disk titled like that, what else could this have been but another new comer with the same content, same flow, and same style, right? Wrong. I was completely taken. Not only is this CD well produced and professional, Jahaziel come through with a smashingly powerful and lyrically smooth style.
If you’ve listened to British hip hop before you’re used to the Euro Pop styles of Dizzy Rascal, The Streets, and the like. But Jahaziel annihilates the techno beat stereotypes and keeps your head bobbing like someone put a metronome in your neck! And don’t be deterred by the London accent, unlike many British rappers he is completely comprehendible and doesn’t leave you in the dust with unfamiliar U.K. slang and euphemisms. In fact the accent sounds dope and is somewhat a refreshing break from your East Coast (everything ends in “a”), West Coast (everything is gangster yo), Midwest (everything ends in “r” even if there’s no “r” in the original word) styles.
Jahaziel never misses a rhyme and makes you feel like you can bank on it. Some of the word play, I admit, could be a little more technical in my personal opinion. But note the wordplay IS there and there are some dope lines floating around, which is well better than average these days. Plus any lack of die hard word play is completely made up for in the smooth rhyme scheme Jahaziel lays down.
Track one, “Power”, opens up with some killer synth production from somewhere in Superproducer Land and drops a hard hitting chop and screw chorus “I got that power in my mouth.” Immediately following is a soulish title track takes your breath away. Lines like “I bless you with presence when you unravel my wraps” and “see there’s a message in the flow if you catch my drift” keep your attention and the hook keeps you connected. Track five “In my Neighborhood” made it to my ipod right of the tip. Jahaziel suddenly transforms into some Dennis Brown style reggae master. No doubt his Jamaican blood has some weight. I am dead serious, as if this album wasn’t ill enough, this track puts it over the chain. “Silence the violence, increase the peace, one life, one love.” is the chant. As far as faith goes, this kido is a truth speaker and there is no hiding it. He never dilutes his faith to push any track, but comes straight off the heart. Collabs include French rapper Kojo Kod’j and Gospel singer Clinton Jordan.
As with all newcomers, the question is if the CD is worth buying. The answer is a resounding YES. Jahaziel comes at you head on with a solid, rock steady, well produced, and well mastered debut disk. Get this CD.
I have to say Jahaziel was a pleasant surprise. I recommend this CD to all and everyone. It’s eclectic enough that all styles of hip hop fans can feel it. At some points he does come off a little cheesy but his sincerity and the sheer force and efficiency of his style erases all blemishes. I leave you with a scripture. “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. He said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.”’ 2 Chronicles 20:14
Release Date: 2007
Record Label: Preacha Boy Music
2- Ready To Live
3- Help Me God
4- You Got Yours
5- In My Neighborhood
7- Makings Of Me
8- What Friends Are For
9- Nobody's Fool
10- Keep It Hot
12- God Love
13- Till Ya Crown Comes
14- Father I Turn To You