One of the more bittersweet things someone could say about you is that you have potential. It’s good because that means that you have a lot of talent but it also means that you are very inconsistent. I’ve seen this label haunt many artists and athletes, because when you’re perceived potential isn’t lived up to you come off as a failure. I’ve also seen it elevate an artist or athlete to a legendary status because they were able to capitalize on the fullness of their talent.
For a fan, this potential thing can be very frustrating as well. Fans love consistency. They want to know that when they pick up their favorite rappers record that it’s going to be good. There is nothing more frustrating than hearing an artist kill features and then you buy their record and it’s disappointing. This inconsistency drives fans crazy, and you see this a lot when artists aren’t living up to their potential.
This scenario could easily describe my music relationship with Jahaziel. I came across Jahaziel early in my time with CHH and was immediately blown away with his talent. His first record Ready to Live showed his potential, range and lyrical ability. After hearing that record, I instantly became fan. Throughout his career, Jahaziel has been a guy that was always mentioned right after the top tier guys, but could never seem to break into that elite group. He’s always had great features but his projects haven’t lived up to his potential. They’ve been good but they weren’t as good as he was capable of.
The great thing about hip-hop is that all of that can change with just one record. Can Jahaziel’s new record Heads Up be that record to change his perception? Can this record turn Jahaziel from an artist with potential to a top tier artist that has capitalized on his enormous talent?
What I loved the Most
From the very beginning of Heads Up there was one thing that continued to jump out at me over and over again; and that’s how good Jahaziel sounded. This is the best I’ve ever heard Jahaziel. It sounded like everything has come together for him musically and he’s just in this zone. He was great on Heads Up, but what I loved even more than that was his consistency.
Consistency has been something that I felt Jahaziel has been missing. After listening to Heads Up I can no longer say that. There was no let up or filler on this record at all. Jahaziel brought his best on every track and kept the same high quality to every bar. The whole record came together beautifully, and that’s largely due to Jahaziel’s consistency.
3 Other Things I Liked
Lyricism – Jahaziel has long been considered a talented lyricist. He’s had moments throughout his career where he’s really shined lyrically but it has yet to come together consistently on a full project. Well at least until now. Lyrically Jahaziel was fantastic throughout the entirety of Heads Up. He had plenty of memorable bars and punch lines. The most impressive was his flow. He sounded very polished and comfortable with himself. All of this together brought his beautiful lyricism to the forefront and it really shined on this record.
Versatility – Versatility has become a skill that almost every emcee covets. Everyone is trying to vary their sound and try new things. On Heads Up Jahaziel masters this skill effortlessly. The sound of the record will be different from most simply because of his accent, but never once does Jahaziel rest on that. He uses different sounds throughout the record that continually gives the listener a different experience. I love the reggae/Caribbean feel that he used at times throughout the record. He weaved that into his sound beautifully. There is something for everyone on this record and his versatility shows more of his talent.
Presence – I haven’t spoken on this very often but this was another thing that would continually jump out at me. Jahaziel has this presence about him. He is very captivating. His flow grabs your attention, but it’s his presence that holds it. When Jahaziel was rapping I was dialed into every word. He sounded more confident on this record and the result of that was this feeling (as the listener) that this is “that dude.” Jahaziel carries himself on this record like a great emcee and that was refreshing.
The Only Thing That Could Have Made This Record Better
There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this record. Actually there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like, but there was something that Jahaziel could have done that would have made Heads Up even better that it already is. This project is void of an overall concept. As a whole it didn’t really hurt the album, because I still thinks it’s great. The addition of a concept would have taken this record to the next level and would have elevated his performance as well. A concept would have had a theme that tied the whole record together, and shown a little more depth. Even without it Jahaziel still put together an outstanding project.
It’s been about two years since the last time we heard from Jahaziel, and this project was well worth the wait. If you are already a Jahaziel fan, or if you’re looking for more good CHH music, or if you haven’t been a fan of his in the past this record is worth checking out. Jahaziel has grown and became a great emcee. Heads Up is a record that has a great (and strong) Christian message at the forefront. It is more than just a record to listen to in the car; this will feed you spiritually. On top of that, it’s great music. This is a record that is good for CHH and CHH fans; it’s a must have.