Lansing emcee and BLAT! Pack member Jahshua Smith (formerly JYoung the General) released his new album “The Final Season” last week, and with almost an hour-and-a-half musical journey, the listen is a bit long but well worth it.
With cameos from a who’s-who of Michigan artists from Joe Hertler (on lead track “Seven Year Itch”) to fellow BLAT! Pack members Philthy, The Amature, Yellowkake and Red Pill, the diversity shown in the featured artists is just as diverse as the production on the tracks themselves. “Seven Year Itch” features Hertler’s soulful crooning on the chorus, while “Carry On/The Ark” features Philthy’s lisp-laden flow.
Smith’s lyrics range from the political to the personal, with a party track thrown in here and there. On “Censored,” he raps about making it to college “but still had to wait for Uncle Sam to split the bill.”
It’s a bit of a stream-of-consciousness, pointed diatribe with a bit of hope tied to it. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel here.
“The Ghosts of Medgar Evers” is another political track drawing on the mindsets of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
“They take up 130 words to sum up a black life,” Smith raps over a synthesizer and snare beat.
Smith’s flow is confident and powerful. Able to draw upon personal experiences, he channels a pent-up anger on his political tracks, while his laid-back style comes through on “Butt/Don’t Hold Back,” with its soulful guitar lead and interchangeable sample of the word “butt” with “but” cleverly implemented. It’s a party track “for the ladies,” as he says in a skit before the track.
He also takes time to dissect love and relationships with songs such as “Lylah’s Song.”
Smith’s travels down a few different avenues with this record and can cater to different groups. Including a few different bonus tracks, the album is a bit too long to listen to at once. The singles are where this album shines, but listening to the entire album helps the listener learn more about Smith: his triumphs, struggles and life. Regardless of what you listen to, you should pick this up. It’s got a bit for everyone and has Michigan roots.