Though some doubted him, and others disregarded him, and the rest just mispronounced his name, KJ-52 is back to put all of them to shame with his third disc, It's Pronounced Five-Two. Though a lot of the tracks are built the same as his previous effort, Collaborations, when it comes to the message and order, for the most part they are fresh, touching, and sometimes humorous.
To kick it off is the intro track "Welcome To Five-Two's." At the start is a man trying to order some fast food, but is informed that this is a CD and not a restaurant. That leads in to his self-titled song "KJ Five-Two." It seems the man is really perturbed with people calling him KJ Fifty-Two. "My name is KJ Five-Two now y'all be messing up my name it's not fifty-two it don't stand for King James." "Whoop Whoop" follows with a beat similar to the dirty south portion of his song "47 Emcees." This is just a song talking about KJ coming back with a new record and how "it's just Christ nothing less than that."
Track 4 is a song that might start up more controversy, as it is "Dear Slim Part 2." The video for "Dear Slim" was played on an episode of MTV's TRL (only a small portion of it however), and from the portion that was played, everyone made it look like a bash on Eminem. However, listen to the whole song, and Part 2 while you're at it, and you will see that it's just an expression of the love that KJ has for Eminem, and more importantly, the love that Jesus has for him. The style is almost exactly the same as the first "Dear Slim," and a lot of the same lines are used, which makes it seem a little redundant, but still a great message. Then we have "So In Love With You," which sounds at first like it's going to be a love ballad to his wife, but when you get into it, you can clearly see that it's directed towards the Savior.
Remember his song "Nursery Rhymes," where KJ tells a story using the names of different fairy tales (the three little pigs, Humpty Dumpty, Old MacDonald, etc.)? Enter the next song "Cartoon Network." KJ has a dream where he is walking through cartoon land, and he runs into Spongebob Squarepants, the Powerpuff Girls, Spider-Man, and Scooby Doo driving a van down Sesame Street. He rides with them to a battle rap, and meets some other cartoons along the way. From this funny song (with an almost Egyptian-type sound to the chorus), we head to a party song called "Rock On" featuring Rob Beckley, the lead singer of Pillar. One thing that makes this song awesome is the driving guitar played by Michael Ripoll. It's almost like something from KJ's side project with Pete Stewart, Peace of Mind. But what makes it less awesome is Rob's verse. As much as Rob rocks and as good as he can rap, he basically says the same things that KJ has already said in the song.
"Back In The Day" is next, and is a song about KJ and his life experiences in high school. He talks about his turtlenecks and MC Hammer pants and trying to hook up with all the girlies that say he's "no Patrick Swayze." He says "Back in the day I was so cool the coolest one is school okay I can't lie to you I was a nerdy little dude." The third verse talks about how he accepted Christ as Savior at age 15, and He changed his whole life around. Next is an interlude called "Can I Speak With A Manager?." A couple of the people from Collaborations who left messages on KJ's answering machine want to complain to KJ about him not responding. Those that complain are Boucalou, Crunchy Bean, and Donnie D. KJ tells them to leave because "ya bref stank," which is the song that it leads up to on that track. It's reminiscent of "Mullet Pride," just another funny acoustic guitar song that appeared on Collaborations.
"47 Emcees" from his last CD, in which KJ presents the gospel while naming 47 secular rappers in the process, was just about the most creative song on that CD. On It's Pronounced Five-Two, he gives us another helping with "47 Pop Stars." This time he uses secular pop stars, rock bands, and the occasional rapper. And this time around the CD came with the lyrics, which makes it easier to find all 47. "Pick Yourself Up" is about dealing with life's problems and sin and that Jesus can help you overcome them, no matter where you come from or who you are. Next is "Don't Go," where the message seems a lot like KJ's "Where Were You?," and also like Peace of Mind's "We Gon A Make It." It's a story of two parents (I'm not sure if they are KJ's or not) who argue all the time and eventually end up getting divorced and starting lives with other people. KJ feels extremely hurt in the midst of this, but then Christ comes and wipes away his tears and brings him comfort.
"Check Yourself" is a song closely related to his earlier song "Wait For You." He addresses the youth, sex, and lust. He talks about saving yourself for marriage, no matter much we're attracted to that person. "'And if you love me too then let me sleep with you' / Ooh he's a fool, a lying scheming dude / I'm a tell you straight, girl, now cut him loose / why ain't no guy that cute." It also addresses the issues of peer pressure, being okay with virginity, and the ever-popular "missionary dating." In between this song and the next is the interlude "Infomercial." It's a funny commercial for the CD, even giving results from people who have listened to it. One of the most emotional and powerful songs on It's Pronounced Five-Two is "#1 Fan." Once again, I'm not sure if it's a true story or not, though it sounds like it is. It's a story about KJ checking his e-mail and finds one titled "suicidal." The girl typing the e-mail tells KJ that she thinks she has nothing left to live for, and she's gonna end it all. They e-mail back and forth, until he never hears from her again. He wonders what happened to his #1 fan and you soon find out what happens at the end of the song...
The next track is "I Feel So Good." One drawback is that every line (except two of them) ends with "right now," but that's not his only rhyming scheme for the song. He is able to rhyme the last words before "right now" of each line, which makes up for it. This is a song about how good it feels to be right with God and to be able to praise and thank Him for all that He has done for us. This is followed by "I'm Guilty." The scenario is KJ confessing in court that he murdered someone. But it wasn't just any man, it was Christ, and it was his sin that killed him. It's almost an allusion to the sinner's prayer. Admitting your guiltiness is the first step. The last track is the outro, followed by the "Coke, Fry, Cheeseburger"-esque "Gimme Dat." KJ has joined MDA, Mountain Dew Anonymous. And he offers this hilarious rap about being addicted to Mountain Dew.
I highly recommend this CD to anyone who likes hip hop, and anyone who liked Collaborations. This is a great alternative to mainstream stuff like Eminem. Hopefully KJ-52 will be around for many more years to come.- Review date: 10/3/03, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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