Just to avoid any confusion, The Yearbook was delivered by KJ-52 in April of last year and this review is for The Yearbook: The Missing Pages, which contains all original 19 tracks from the previous release, plus 10 new tracks, three remixes, two music videos, and a PDF of the new songs' lyrics. OK, now that we have that cleared up, let's see what we have here.
Let's start with the original 16 tracks from The Yearbook shall we? One has to wonder; with KJ putting out so much music in the last eight or nine years if he still has what it takes. Well, this release will not only keep current fans satisfied, it also delivers a little more to attract some new faces. As displayed in songs like "You'll Never Take Me Down" with Kevin Young of Disciple and "Wake Up" with Toby Morrel of Emery, this album showcases a slightly harder side that would appeal to fans of the guest vocalists' bands or those of TFK and Pillar. As always, the artist keeps the focus on Christ throughout the album and blends a perfect mix of humor and seriousness. "Can I Be Honest" displays KJ's struggles in the rap world and how he's making it through, while "Fanmail" uniquely uses letters from fans to showcase a strong message to today's youth. Lastly, "I Won't Ever Stop," "Do Yo Thang" and a few others are just straight-up good rap tunes and worthy to be played anytime you're in need of some good ol' hip-hop.
Moving on to The Missing Pages side of the release, we'll start with the weaker tracks because there aren't many. The music starts off with "Stuck In The 80's" and "Starbucks Takes All Of My Money," songs which may come off as funny initially, but tend to wear thin after a few listens. On the up side, there isn't another track on the remaining listen that even comes close to coming off as less than good Christian rap. "Keep Shining" showcases Goldinchild and KJ-52 blending their two different vocals nicely while speaking about living right for the Lord. "Do Yo Thang" is a remix featuring the newest talent from Gotee, B. Reith. The message is to be yourself no matter what others may think or say about you. The two blend together very nicely on this great track. And as always, KJ delivers a wonderful storytelling track in "I Almost Got Shot." You can't help but imagining the dark scenes and feeling like you're in the middle of the frightening situation. It's something that most musicians can't do, but KJ-52 always pulls it off nicely.
KJ goes on to speak about what his life was like before he found Christ and the hard times he has been through. Later, he does a dedication type of song to his wife and - as always - comes off as funny with his antics. The Missing Pages is a great addition to an already great album. As a whole, you get 32 songs and there are only a few tracks that you could justify skipping. The additions of the remixes, which mostly came out better than the originals, the extra help from other great artists, and KJ "doin' his thang," make this a great buy. If you already have The Yearbook, you are definitely missing out if you don't grab The Missing Pages. Thankfully, if you have the disc already, since the bonus tracks are only available as a download - whether it's a purchase of the 13 songs off of iTunes, or you get a download code in the re-release CD packaging - you don't need to buy The Yearbook all over again (just head on over to iTunes now and download them). But for those who haven't grabbed either yet, picking up the re-sleeved album for The Missing Pages may be disappointed to find it's just a special download. Either way, this collection of thirty-plus tracks will fit nicely into your hip-hop collection.- Review date: 11/9/08, written by Kevin Hoskins of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: BEC Recordings
The Yearbook CD
The Missing Pages MP3 Downloads
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