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When Jahaziel released his debut album Ready to Live it became obvious that the UK had someone special they could boast about. The 2007 Preacha Boy Music album gave us a UK accent to listen to, something that’s always appreciated in Hip Hop. We could feel a non aggressive inspiring energy in the voice of Jahaziel and the figure on the album cover looking out from under a hoodie let us know he’d been through some stuff.
With the album coming out a lot of us got to see the rapper as he toured churches, schools and universities sharing his fun inspiring energy. Jahaziel said: “I think it’s important that the music does what it’s designed to do, whether that’s to make people smile or cry, it should serve its purpose.” The 2008 Mobo award for Best Gospel Act let London know he wasn’t a secret anymore and with G-Force winning the year before helped to show Gospel rap was now a serious part of the gospel genre.
For a while after there was an awkward silent from Jahaziel as artists such as Dwayne Tryumf raised the levels for what’s expected from UK rappers with the Mark of the Peace (777) album coming out in 2010. Jahaziel featured on the track “This is for You” and it was a blessing to hear some new material from the MC while he dabbled in features rather than albums. During this time Jahaziel opened his home for a weekly Bible study. The Jahaziel said: “We often have artists come through like E Tizz, Tru2daname, Guvna B, Baliva, Deborah and others.”
After time spent with family and other ministry the London born rapper has now picked up his pen and put out The Still Livin’ Mixtape. The Mixtape was supposed to be an album but Jahaziel made the decision to give something away for free. The end result is a Mixtape of album quality. We get the fun energy we’re used to on tracks like Jesus Loves Me and his Reggae influence is still livin’ in Deliver Me Pt.2. His uncle Maxi Priest will be proud. Jahaziel said: “Still living is a testimony. After a rough time, I wanted to make a statement that said no matter how hard it gets, I ain’t leaving.”
There is a bigger American influence on the music with US artists collaborating on tracks like Be Not Deceived. The 18 track format means that Mixtape can slowly take you through different feelings and emotions, something that a lot of Mixtapes and album don’t do these days as they jump from genre to genre. There’s song for the radio, songs for those special church events, and songs for the I-Pod. It’s unashamed to be Gospel and Jahaziel struggles once again to keep Jesus out the chorus, good for him.
The Mixtape stands out as the best work Jahaziel’s produced in his career and easily takes a place on any UK top 10 gospel album list. The rapper has matured well as a Christian artist and there are a lot of deep topics spoken about. We can look forward to Jahaziel’s next official album “Heads Up” coming out early next year. He also tells us there will be a Forerunnaz EP out before then.
Lion Track: Come Home Remix
Best Feature: G Kid (I’m Alive Remix)
Rating: 3 Crosses