Review – Jai ‘Culture Shock’
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Jai is an artist that has been prevalent in Christian Hip Hop and in Urban Gospel for the last 3 or 4 years. She has been featured on Invasion (Hero) by Trip Lee and God Is Enough by Lecrae. She seems to be everywhere from the Stellar Awards showcases and GMA (Gospel Music Association) showcases, to Bobby Jones Gospel. She is very engaging when seeing her live performance, helping to explain why she has created quite a buzz for herself. So it is only fitting that she finally releases Culture Shock, a full length album of her own. The majority of the album was produced by the extremely versatile artist/producer, JR. Impressively, Jai wrote or co-wrote every song.
Culture Shock is a seemingly fitting title for this album as she is now sporting purple hair. Her delivery may not totally fit into one category; thus bringing a jolt to cultural expectations. Misfits, youth and those who are open-minded will definitely be drawn to Jai’s style. Although Jai has used auto tune on her voice on different songs, she does not do so on every song on this album. She does layer her vocals a certain way that helps to give her a signature sound.
Most songs on Culture Shock are songs of praise and worship regardless of the way she presents it. Calling You is an upbeat, electronica anthem that speaks of the beauty and holiness of God. she sings lyrics like, “You’re amazing. You are awesome. You are worthy” while the chorus goes on to say, “God, You are Holy. Lord, You are holy. If I search all over the world and I can’t find nobody like You…” Lecrae adds that signature flow over the pulsating beat. Praise Grenade will put you in the mindset of 90’s group, Ace of Base. Jai is taking chances and not looking back. You Deserve My All is probably the most pop/CCM sounding number on the album. Will Sterns produced the track while Jai does all of the vocal production.
Jai tackles the issue of being confident in her own skin on Reflection while encouraging people to get up and celebrate life on Good Day. The latter song was one that I did not enjoy at first listen. As I listened to it again, it became more infectious and one you can start your day with. The distortion on Jai’s voice was a bit much on Incredible, but Thi’sl brings balance with his signature gritty flow. The remix is no short of bananas as Jai’s vocals, whether intentionally or not, take a backseat to her special guests. Joining her on the remix is Canton Jones, Japhia Life and KJ-52. Each one blazes their bars, but KJ impresses, murdering his 16 bars leaving you wanting more.
Jai puts things in perspective with the head nodder, I Love You (Human) produced by BOYZfromMARZ. She exposes situations that may have been disappointing, but realizes that God is in control and she is only human. Aziel Gonzales lays a dope beat with a beat box loop that would make Timberland smile. You Deserve My Praise is beautiful song that borrows from Psalms 51:15, “Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise”.
Jai impresses with Culture Shock with the one complaint being that a few of the beats sounded redundant. Overall, this is a solid, energetic and praise-heavy album. Today’s generation needs Jai, and thankfully she is only getting started.
Release Date: August 02, 2011
Label: Outlet Music Group
2. Praise Grenade
3. Calling You feat. Lecrae
4. Good Day
5. You Deserve My All
7. I Love You (Human)
8. I’ll Wait
9. Stand Alone
12. Incredible feat. Thi’sl
13. Dancing For You feat. Guvna B
13. Incredible REMIX feat. Japhia Life, KJ-52, & Canton Jones