Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
A Journey through Sound & Creativity on the way to “Elsewhere”
One of the characteristics of music that makes it so great, is how experiential it can be. When an artist and a producer get on the same page with a similar direction, they can create something very special for a listener. They can take you pretty much anywhere they want you to go. They can motivate you, inspire you, encourage and teach you. They can even create music that is so special that you get lost in the world that is created. Even though it is not always used, an artist and producer have an opportunity to create a wonderful and entertaining experience for the listener.
For this to happen, there needs to be a clear direction and more importantly chemistry between the artist and producer. Most of the time artists are getting beats from producers and using it to add to something they are trying to create. Every once in awhile an artist and producer will work together on a project. That is a special opportunity for the two to create something special together. That is what Young Joshua and Tee-Wyla set out to do on their new record Road to Elsewhere.
Young Joshua has been in CHH for a little while now and has already released two records. Last we heard from him he was with Cross Movement Records and he released his first national release “Thinking Out Loud,” a little over two years ago. He’s done a few features here and there since then, but for the most part he has been off of everyone’s radar. He’s back now and he’s brought Tee-Wyla with him this time. The duo has worked together before on Joshua’s last album “Thinking Out Loud,” but this time they created a whole project together entitled Road to Elsewhere.
This project is everything I was mentioning earlier. It is an experience set out to grab the listener and take them on a journey. For Young Joshua and Tee-Wyla this journey is to “Elsewhere,” but the the destination isn’t the focus on this record, it’s about the journey. The journey could be different for each listener, but there is something special to be had for everyone who decides to go with them. The experience can be subtle and maybe even passed over if you’re not careful.
There were two subtle ways that Young Joshua and Tee-wyla created this journey:
As a long time fan of Josh, one thing that I always wanted was for him to get some solid production. Over the course of his career Josh has always shined over decent production. The best way to change that is to team up with one of CHH’s best producers for a project, Tee-Wyla. The production on Road to Elsewhere is great. It is exactly what I always wanted to hear Young Joshua on. Tee-Wyla did an excellent job of giving Josh a production that fits into the sound that we’re used to hearing from him, while at the same time pushing him outside of that box a little as well. The production varied throughout the record and fit Josh very well.
It wasn’t just the beats that were good, it was the overall sound of the record. The whole record sounded great. It was easy to listen to. Each track fit into the entire album, which made the album really easy to listen to straight through. It complimented Josh beautifully. And most importantly, it set the mood for each track. Before Josh even starts to rap, you can vibe with the direction of the song. Tee-Wyla set the table beautifully for Young Joshua to come through and completely blow us away.
I was taken aback by the creativity on this project. It’s not that I don’t think of Josh as the creative type. It was more of how creative this project was. It was more of what I would call ‘subtle creativity.’ What I mean by that is that it was clever and there were small things that you will get only after multiple listens. Tracks like “Tunnel Vision” flash the exact idea that I am talking about. At first this track may overwhelm you because there is a lot going on with the production, but after a couple of listens you really get to vibe with Josh. The subtle creativity comes in the fact that in order to vibe with the song you have to focus on Josh and what he’s saying. You have to use tunnel vision to really pull some value out of it.
“Tunnel Vision” is just one instance of the duo’s creativity. I was really blown away by the use of the concept throughout the record. The duo used the concept differently than I have grown accustomed to. They took the idea of Road to Elsewhere and turned the whole album into a journey to “Elsewhere.” It really felt like I was on a journey or a trip somewhere. The opening track, “Far from Here,” Young Joshua clearly defines what he means by traveling to elsewhere when he spits a short poem. The beauty doesn’t lie in the delivery alone, it lies in the fact that everyone’s Road to Elsewhere is different. That is what this record is about, traveling to “Elsewhere.” Changing, growing and discovering the path that God has created for you. The use of this concept was subtle but so deep and beautiful, and it was used so creatively.
This is a solid record anyway you slice it. Young Joshua had his usual lyrical performance, which is real good. Tee-Wyla killed the production. And there were some great individual moments. But Road to Elsewhere is much more than just that. It’s more than beats and lyrics. More than a dope artist and great producer collaborating together. This is music. It’s two people coming together and pouring their heart and soul into a record. It’s two people using their platform to inspire and motivate. It’s two people with talent, creativity and courage to use a whole album to challenge people spiritually. As a christian Road to Elsewhere will push you and you will grow from it.
Every listeners “Elsewhere” will be different, as well as their journey to get there. It is the catalyst to start the journey. This record is the soundtrack for that journey. It’s a musical guide to help you find your “Elsewhere.” So enjoy the music and enjoy the trip.