The crew from Cult Muzic is back with J. Andrew’s “Wrong Things”. They are a prolific San Diego based record label and artist collective. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because one of the label’s flagship artists has appeared on StaticDive.com before. His name is Black Hesher, and over the course of the past six months he released a trilogy of genre-bending Alternative Hip-hop albums. A number of Cult Muzic artists assisted Hesher on his funky journey.
J. Andrew is a name that appeared on every one of those albums. However, in that time he has also been hard at work on his own Cult Muzic records. Staying true to the label’s standard operating procedure of releasing a high volume of high quality product, J produced two albums in as many years. His most recent is a seventeen-song collection of transformative Hip-Hop bangers. “Wrong Things,” melds old-school rap styling with Rock, Pop, R&B and even Jazz.
I was hesitant at first to describe the album as “old school.” That term can conjure images of Fab Five Freddy and the Furious Five in a street corner rap battle with The Sugar Hill Gang. “Wrong Things” has a sound as current as tomorrow. However, in an era of Indie Hip-hop in which SoundCloud artists rap for 1:30 over a Trap beat, Andrew’s album of musically layered and emotionally complex songs seems to hearken back to a different era.
A handful of recurrent topics flow through the record. Lyrically J chronicles his own redemption through self-realization. Songs like “Back on Track,” “Protect Mode” and the title track all tell tales of his rise back to full form after suffering the consequences of bad choices and placing his faith in the wrong people.
J sings “I’m giving up on everybody, again,” on the track “Giving Up,” as he comes to the conclusion that happiness and success are goals he can only achieve on his own. On the song “Wrong Things,” Andrews says, “I was reminded of the fact that I create my own despair.” It is a complicated lesson, and almost Buddhist in its ‘life is suffering’ message. Negative influences create the positive outcome of self-reliance.
Another theme the album returns to is the artist’s own mortality. At various points on the record he makes reference to a recent event that nearly took his life. It fuels his motivation to leave a legacy through his music. On tracks like “Before the Show’s Over,” “Remember my Name” and “Kill This Day,” Andrews reflects on life/death and knowledge gained from walking the balance between them. Through all of the above J Andrew flows between killer rhyme technique and a smooth, melodic singing.
J does not let himself be confined by genre. Musically the album moves easily between East Coast and West Coast Hip-Hop, Alternative Rock and some funkier fare. For example, “Face Down” and “Tear it Apart” find inspiration in emotional 90’s Grunge. Meanwhile, tracks like “Headphones” and “Not Alone” ride on a cool, Jazzy R&B vibe. As a songwriter, Andrew has an innate ability to land a hook in the chorus. That Pop sensibility, combined with smart and self-reflective lyrics, tie these songs together regardless of genre or style.
“Wrong Things” is the sound of a skilled artist at the top of his game. He’s taken his punches, learned his lessons and is now dropping science for anyone smart enough to listen. And he’s doing it with funky beats and guitars. Check out “Wrong Things” on all of the major music streaming services. And follow the links below to connect with J. Andrew and the Cult Muzic crew. Stay in the loop on all of his current and future projects.