J Andrew is a rapper, singer and songwriter on San Diego based Hip-hop label, Cult Muzic. Regular readers of The Static Dive should be well acquainted with the talented and prolific artist. He first appeared on these pages in connection with his work on the albums of label owner, Black Hesher. And then back in March we featured J’s brilliant album, “Wrong Things.”
That record was an emotionally complex collection of songs that mixed genres from Punk to Pop into a Hip-hop stew. It was the sound of an artist and a man in transition. Lyrically, he was alternately confident and insecure, proud and shameful. Now he returns with a brand new record, and a whole new outlook. On his new album “Time to Move,” J Andrew has adopted a funky, organic sound and a newfound optimism.
Look how the tide is rising. I’m done apologizing. Here I come… Energy of a thousand.J Andrew – “Energy of 1000”
On the opening track of “Time to Move”, J sets the record straight. He has his eyes on the prize. With raw honesty he recounts his struggles from the past, but he doesn’t stay there long. This is the sound of an artist who has come out the other end of hardship and is stronger for it. Now he is sharing his lessons learned. However, he tempers the positivity with a healthy dose of realism and humor. For example, on the track “Lighthouse” he offers help to loved ones who need it but follows up on that sentiment with, “I’m in a good place and it’s weirding me out.”
Positive vibes aside, this a Hip-hop album not a motivational speech. J is just as ferocious as he is friendly, especially when confronting would-be foes who want to slow his roll. Songs like “Stay out the Way” and the title track make it clear that if you’re not part of his solution, then you are part of the problem. The rapper delivers both carrot and stick with a fierce rhyming technique.
Musically, “Time to Move” is a streamlined and funky collection. At the heart and soul of that funk is the bass. I’m not talking about simple, single note synth bass drops. I’m talking about funky-ass bass guitar. Throughout the record, old-school analog Hip-hop breakbeats are paired with real-deal bass grooves. It is such a great sound, especially when paired with Andrew’s unique ability to write a hook.
He can write (and sing) Pop and R&B melodies as adeptly as he puts together fire Hip-hop rhymes. And he does so, from the slow and dramatic choruses of “Comfortable” and “Summer” to the rhythmic melody of “Eyes Everywhere.” The latter song is a real high point on the record with a beat and flow that sound a bit like a Busta Rhymes collaboration with “Ill Communication”-era Beastie Boys. And that is just plain cool.
“Time to Move” is the sound of a unique and diversely talented artist who has hit his stride. Listen to “Eyes Everywhere” on the Deep Indie Beat playlist. And follow the links below to connect with J Andrew and the whole Cult Muzic crew.