KCâ€™s Music Monday: J57
If I was a musician, after finishing a project, Iâ€™d probably allow myself take some time to relax before starting the next one. And thatâ€™s one of maybe thirty reasons why Iâ€™m not a producer or rapper. Brooklyn-based J57, of the Brown Bag All Stars, just happens to be both. And he puts the work in.
I always personally enjoy when an artist breaks into another element of creating – such as a DJ learning production or a rapper getting into more than just rocking the mic. Itâ€™s all about putting passion into learning your craft inside and out, and J57 is living proof thereâ€™s nothing wrong with being well-rounded in the studio these days.
I also really appreciate the “no days off” vibe I get from all members of the Brown Bag All Stars. After all, you get out of it what you put into it – in this case, itâ€™s a multitude of amazing tracks. Additionally, itâ€™s noteworthy that with the BBAS (much like with our music scene in the 518), there is a solid and visible balance between independent projects and group endeavors, and support for every effort from both the members of the group and those listening alike. Itâ€™s hard to keep up, really, and that definitely holds true with J57.
Today, URB Magazine debuted a new track by J57 titled â€œHeisenberg Blueâ€ which is this pretty instrumental that holds a large, cinematic feel before turning into a tease by ending quicker than Iâ€™d have liked. Luckily, the track is part of an forthcoming “freEP” presented by URB Magazine, titled 0057: FlaskLIFE, so there will be more to look forward to in the near future of this capacity.
Last week, a large majority of J57â€™s catalog was made available by iTunes and I spent the last week or so listening. Having the opportunity to dig deep into the archives of a musician such as J57 is a special one, as you can hear shifts in experimentation, style and quality as he works to develop his signature sounds throughout different projects.
Additionally, J57â€™s most recent beattape The Analog Tape 2 dropped last week, so needless to say, thereâ€™s a lot to catch up on, especially if you (like me) are relatively new to this producer/emceeâ€™s personal projects, outside of the Brown Bag All Stars. The beattape is kinda dreamy in general, with atmospheric vinyl crackles, some angsty-but-fun sampling and funky instrumentation to balance it all out.
Going into the J57 archive, some of my favorite tracks span full years from one other, such as â€œDays Still Turn to Nightâ€ featuring BBAS + ATR from 2012â€™s The Ports EP, â€œDETLANYâ€ featuring Denmark Vessey and Tenacity with production by PJ Katz from 2014â€™s Wax Aesthetic EP, â€œSound Familiarâ€ featuring Koncept off of DeeJay Elementâ€™s Reality Kings And Reason EP, â€œGold Rushâ€ off of 2013â€™s Trill Cunningham EP with F. Virtue, â€œOh Baby (J57 remix)” off Konceptâ€™s 2013 Malt Disney, among countless others. You really can throw a dart at J57’s catalog and find a gem pretty much every time. There is a confident versatility to J57, and while hip hop is a genre where he shines, he can (and does) adapt well in other directions without losing sight of what heâ€™s about, which is the mark of a true artist in my eyes.
I thoroughly dug 2012â€™s 2057 EP and this yearâ€™s Wax Aesthetic EP, and would suggest checking either one of those out as a starting point. Admittedly, I listened to J57â€™s catalog track by track on my phone randomly and sporadically, as opposed to listening in a focused front-to-back album run-through like I normally do. The consistency in the polish of the production stood out clear to me and I appreciated how he uses sampling sparingly and at times rarely, and really focuses on the instrumentation at the core.
With the amount of people that J57 collaborates with, I will admit I did find myself wondering whoâ€™s voice I was listening to at times. Upon second and third listens, I found it easier to separate J57’s voice from the pack and really enjoyed getting to know his patterns and lyricism. Focusing on evolving with both producing and rapping a commendable thing to say the very least.
You can catch J57 on SIRIUS/XM Sunday nights at 10pm as part of the â€œRap Is Outta Controlâ€ show with DJ Eclipse and D-Stroy. J57 also has a ton of tricks up his sleeve, and I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what project he has coming out next (as I don’t know!), but I do strongly advise you keep him, Koncept and the BBAS on your radar, starting now if not already.
Spend some time with J57â€™s music this week; youâ€™ll be glad you did.