Regular readers of The Static Dive are familiar with J. Andrew. The San Diego artist has appeared here many times for numerous collaborations with his Cult Muzic labelmates. We first heard from him as a solo artist a year ago upon the release of his album “Wrong Things.” Written and recorded right before the world was shut down by COVID, the album was a deeply personal examination of the artist’s own life. He looked hard at his own past mistakes and laid out his path to wellness. The specters of drug abuse, temptation and the fallout from bad decisions loomed large over the record.
“Wrong Things” also introduced us to his unique vibe as a rapper, singer and songwriter. J. Andrew’s sound is equal parts; Hip-hop, Alternative Rock and Dark Pop. In all of the above his style is strongly influenced by the early 90’s. It was a time when both Hip-hop and Alt-Rock were at their peak. It was the era of De La Soul and Nirvana, Busta Rhymes and Alice in Chains. We could hear all of their influences in Andrew’s sound, but he stirred them up into a brand new stew.
A few months later J. was back and brought some positive vibes. As the title suggests, “Time to Move” was the sound of an artist who had hit his stride. He had gotten his head straight and was motivated to forge a brighter future. The record wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, of course. Andrew is a deeply introspective writer. But the self doubt was gone. It was time to move.
“Collapse” is the brand new album from J. Andrew, released worldwide to all major streaming services on March 1, 2021. It has been a few months since “Time To Move.” In that time, the world has just kept getting uglier. We all know the deal. The daily disasters of the past 18 months have been inescapable. The pandemic, it turns out was just the tip of the iceberg. Racial injustice, climate catastrophes and redneck insurrections have become the insane new daily norm.
J. Andrew has had enough. “Collapse” is his reaction to the mess of the world. That reaction can best be summed up by the title of track #9, “Fuck it All.” This is the sound of a guy who got his own head clear, then looked around and realized how fucked up everyone else is. He sets the stage in the opening title track. With a machine-gun vocal delivery over a relentlessly percussive beat he lays all of the ills of the world on the table and then declares, “We’re gonna watch it all collapse.”
It’s a mood and attitude reflected in faces across America. For instance, we all feel it in the excellent Portishead-meets-Sublime Trip-Hop tune “Disappear” when he sings, “How much more do I have to take? I don’t wanna be here but I can’t disappear, so I find that smile to fake.” This is an idealist who has been smacked in the face with reality, and he is sick of it. However, although Andrew is content to watch the world collapse he is not getting dragged down with it. On the track “Falling Back” he references his past personal struggles directly when he sings, “I may fall down but i’m never falling back again.”
Musically, “Collapse” continues the artist’s wild experimentation with multiple genres. In modern music we hear artists mix up different styles all the time. But J. Andrew’s sound is not the product of some forced mash-up. His records exist in a space all his own. It is one in which Rock, Hip-hop and Electronic music exist simultaneously as a single entity.
Throughout the album he slides from Rap to Rock and back again, and it all makes sense. From the hard Rap and breakbeat grooves of “Gold” to the dark Grunge guitar of “Dying in Love,” it works because it is real. As an artist, this is where J. Andrew lives. And he is equally adept at writing melodies as he is at spitting rhymes.
J. Andrew is a smart, talented writer, rapper and singer who wears his heart on his sleeve. Whether he is taking aim at his own perceived shortcomings or those of the world around him, he pulls no punches. On “Collapse” he delivers his truth with plenty of Funk, Soul and Rock & Roll. Check it out, below. You can also hear him on both the Deep Indie Dive and Deep Indie Beat playlists. Follow the links below to connect and get in the loop on all of the current and future projects from J. Andrew and the entire Cult Muzic crew.