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Whenever it seems like an artist has disappeared for a few years, there’s an expectation that they come back new and improved. We also expect to still see the traits that made us fall in love with them in the first place. It was in 2007 that Jahaziel released his last studio album “Ready to Live,” 7 years, which is a lifetime by Hip Hop standards, unless we ask Dre.
There’s a clear step up in the production values of this album in comparison to Jahaziel’s previous work. The UK rapper tends to have quite a laid back style on the mic and high energy tracks such as “Amen, Famous” and “Vessel Of Honour” with synths, hi hats and hard hitting snares add a more up tempo element to his music, similar to the energy that comes from Andy Mineo and Lecrae usually.
The consistency across the album makes this the best UK gospel rap album EVER. This isn’t a case of picking 5 songs that you’ll play from time to time. Heads Up stands as a body of work that you can play from beginning to end and go on a spiritual journey. The up tempo beginning gives way to melodic choruses with tracks like “They Don’t Know” featuring Maxi Priest and piano led songs such as “Numbers Game” that let listeners zone out and reflect on life and everything in between. “Round and Round” is likely to make you wheel the track after you re-enter your body.
Honesty is currently the biggest asset that Jahaziel has and it gives his music a lot of credibility. Anyone who meets the artist testifies to his humility and how open he is to receiving individuals. He has maintained this standing while many other gospel artists have come under criticism. His next challenge will be to consistently put out albums of the quality of “Heads Up” and release material more frequently.
Speaking from a musical perspective he’s at the top of the ladder in terms of UK Christian Hip Hop. If he can be called be undisputed top 5 worldwide then many who’ve been listening since 2007 will start believing he’s reached his potential. I look forward to the day, till then, chins and Heads Up.
Lion Track: Numbers Game
Best Feature: Maxi Priest-They Don't Know
Rating: 4 Crosses