If you’ve been around the urban gospel scene for more than five years, then the name Canton Jones rings bells for days to you. He has been doing music for the Lord since the early 2000’s when I was in high school, and probably earlier than that. He has such an anointing over his music ministry, and a creative mind that has always been uniquely CaJo.
The most recent project from this brother is a mixtape called Lust, Drugs & Gospel. Since the last three full length projects from CaJo have been compilation albums, featuring a plethora of artists, this 14 track mixtape is the first all-Canton project we’ve heard in a long time. As one who has always enjoyed Canton Jones’ music, I was excited to sit down and listen to it. But did it fulfill my expectations? Allow me to break it down for you.
With a title like Lust, Drugs & Gospel, at a glance, it can leave any Christian saying “What?!” Those topics aren’t topically ones that are directly tied together in the average, everyday Christian life. However, for most urban missionaries, these are the kind of issues they face everyday when interacting within the urban community. While most “sinners” are doing what they do, they’re familiar enough with either church or “God” that they know to ask someone who looks “churchy” to pray for them when they know they can use some help with something. So, its not odd to have an album that directly addresses issues that are rampant in the urban contexts, from the direction of how The Gospel of Jesus can deliver anyone from them. Not only that, but the project encourages and supports those who have been transformed in their new lifestyles with uplifting music (which is one of CaJo’s specialties).
In a nutshell, this mixtape is a collection of songs aimed at the urban community; full of people living selfish and hurtful lifestyles because of their current situations, pains from their past, and because they have no hope that they can actually make any lasting change in their lives. Lust, Drugs & Gospel has songs directed to the killer called “Murderer,” and has songs directed to the girl with the history of abuse and promiscuity entitled “Prodigal Daughter.” CaJo also caters to individuals who have been to church all of their lives, because their momma made them and they’re trying to turn their life around, with the songs “Paid It All” and “Tell Momma.” Its musically diverse, which can be hard to accomplish with a hip hop project, but Canton Jones has always been unafraid to be himself musically.
Lust, Drugs & Gospel is evangelistic in nature – its has relevant tracks, relevant lyrics, catchy hooks, and a on point message. With beats that are along the lines of what you hear on the radio these days, I can see how any cat on the block who may get handed this project would give it a few spins. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen in my neighborhood enough to know the possible impact it can have.
While this mixtape has natural evangelistic properties, the other purpose of this mixtape was for the music world. Like I said, Canton Jones hasn’t had a project that was just him in a long time, and as the video testimony (and song) he released on Youtube last year spoke about, he wasn’t himself after his father passed away. He hadn’t taken the proper time to mourn, and his music ministry seemed to be suffering as well. The songs weren’t the same and his spiritual health was fading. Now that he has been restored by The Lord, Canton is getting back to what makes him CaJo. So this mixtape is a separate project, of course, but it’s really an appetizer for his next album coming down the pipeline entitled God City USA.
For those who may have thought that Canton wasn’t really on top of his game like he used to be, this is to prove all of those thoughts wrong, as well as to let you know the quality of music he has coming with his next album. And in my opinion, that is exactly what this mixtape does. I feel like the Canton Jones represented on Lust, Drugs & Gospel is the CaJo that we know and love. The music is full of his passion for the Lord, it has his trademark stadium-worship-anthem song writing peppered through it, and still has those few songs that make you chuckle because you say to yourself “did he really just say that?” There are a lot of good songs on this mixtape but my personal favorite at the moment is “That’s Me.”It’s a great song to drive around to.
Lust, Drugs & Gospel is both a mixtape and a planned out preamble to Canton Jones’s next project. If anything, this mixtape should show the world that now that CaJo is back in his spiritual connection with the Lord, you can expect a flood of great CaJo music in the very new future. This is one of the few free project reviews that I have done where after my first listen through, I immediately put it on a CD, and put it in my car so I could play it while I drove around town. The sound quality is on point, which can sometimes suffer on free downloads. It is great to have CaJo back to himself and I eagerly await to see what he will bring when he releases his album God City USA.