Get the new album from Free Chapel!

Get the new album from Free Chapel!

JFH Staff Review

Japhia Life, Westside Pharmacy

Japhia Life
Westside Pharmacy

Album length: 18 tracks: 54 minutes, 34 seconds
Street Date: November 20, 2012

Japhia Life (pronounced Jah-fye-ah) has been putting out music and mixtapes on his own now for almost thirteen years and has gone widely unnoticed. Those in the underground know Japhia and hail his first mixtape, Pages of Life: Chapter One, as a classic often compared to Illmatic from Nas. With his newest release, Westside Pharmacy, Japhia finds himself ready to be discovered by the masses. He's a Christian and doesn't hide from his beliefs (Japhia states "I saw the light when I was 17, man, that's the flyest thing I've ever seen. I've been a Christian in Christian Dior, ducking the triple six in Seven jeans" in "Lifey's Revenge"), but isn't looking to be called a "Christian rapper" or even to be closely associated with CHH.

If you're not familiar with Japhia, he brings a slightly retro sound (90s era hip-hop) similar to that of Nas or Common. The record features fifteen songs (plus three interludes/skits). The beats don't necessarily hit hard, but the album is musically deep. Couple an excellent sound with outstanding lyrics and flow and you may wonder why Japhia wasn't recognized earlier in his career. The lyrics focus on real life issues like drugs and street violence while others are an honest look in the mirror, like "Last Night" and "I'm a Mess," as Japhia admits, "I'm a mess right now; tryin' to do right, but goin' left right now." No matter the message, Japhia always claims God as the reason he made it, and continues to make it, through his problems. Another interesting track in theme is "Letter to Lindsay," which starts with a news clip discussing Lindsay Lohan's May 2007 arrest for DUI and cocaine possession. Japhia tells Lindsay that he did a lot of things he viewed as unforgivable in his younger days, including drug use and being arrested, but offers to talk to her about real love. Despite the serious nature of the album, Japhia finds time to show his sense of humor in the skit "Phone Call." In the skit, Reverend Tithes calls the studio asking for "Jafee" in order to complain that he is taking members away from his church. It's a funny moment in the record and is almost necessary to break the serious nature of the record up a bit.

The stand out tracks on the album would have to be "Last Night," I'm a Mess," "Cold Blooded," "Cloud" and the more lighthearted "The Exercise" -- which is "dedicated to my future wife." For those that have never heard of Japhia Life, Westside Pharmacy is a good starting place before diving into his older material. Japhia's latest effort is without a doubt a solid album from a talented individual, but it's not likely to be considered a classic like Pages of Life by his fans. Westside Pharmacy probably won't be thought of as "hip-hop album of the year" either, but it should be discussed amongst this year's best. Don't pass on this relatively unknown artist; he easily could be a household name very soon.

- Review date: 11/18/12, written by Michael Weaver of


. Record Label: Arms Out / Syntax
. Album length: 18 tracks: 54 minutes, 34 seconds
. Street Date: November 20, 2012
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Japhia's Lyric (1:24)
  2. Pitchfork (2:48)
  3. Last Night (4:31)
  4. Lifey's Revenge (feat. Tena Jones) (3:34)
  5. Phone Call (skit) (1:55)
  6. I'm A Mess (4:03)
  7. Cold Blood (3:56)
  8. Full Moon (feat. David James) (4:01)
  9. Hate (interlude) (Feat. Redz) (1:18)
  10. Dime (feat. Rob Hodge) (2:50)
  11. Pimp (2:55)
  12. Dealin' (1:44)
  13. Cloud (3:17)
  14. Letter to Lindsay (4:40)
  15. Small World (2:54)
  16. The Exercise (2:56)
  17. The Realest (3:29)
  18. I Will Watch You (2:19)


Leave a Comment



go to main Album review page
go to Album review archive


JFH Sponsor Spot:



Listen to the new album from Connor Flanagan!

Search JFH

Music Out This Week

This Friday, October 19
Gawvi Panorama [Reach]
Hollyn Everything and More / Isaac - Single [Gotee]
Iron Bell Music Glory to Glory [Essential]
Matt Maher The Advent of Christmas [Essential]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth Part III EP [Integrity]
Planetshakers Heaven on Earth CD/DVD [Integrity]
Switchfoot Native Tongue - Single [Lowercase People]
Tenth Avenue North The Things We've Been Afraid To Say EP [Reunion]
CeCe Winans Something's Happening: It's Christmas with CeCe Winans [Thirty Tigers]

NEXT Friday, October 26
Francesca Battistelli Own It [Word]
Lauren Daigle Behold: Deluxe Edition [Centricity]
Ben & Noelle Kilgore A Resting Place EP [Integrity/The Creak Music]
Lovelite Apocalypse Hymnal (independent)
Marc Martel My Way, Vol. II: The Queen EP (independent)
Matthew Parker Daydreamer [DREAM]
Fight The Fury Still Breathing EP [Atlantic]
Chris Tomlin Holy Roar [Sparrow]

For all release dates, click here!

New Music Reviews

Listen to the new album from Three Bridges!

New Indie Reviews

New Movie Reviews

Free MP3 Downloads