Published Feb 04, 2014San Diego emcee Johaz has teamed with L.A. producer Exile for their debut album E&J, their second project after 2012's The Dag Savage EP. Much in the same vein of past Exile-produced projects, from Blu to Fashawn, E&J is an introspective long-player soundtracked by sample-happy production.
Johaz is a serviceable rapper with raw, honest lyrics but stylistically indistinct from a number of microphone fiends working the indie circuit, so it's when left coast luminaries like Co$$, Ras Kass and Fashawn check in that E&J really lights up. Exile is also a welcome presence on the mic, as he and Johaz go back and forth on "LL Cool J" and "Don't Stop" with Blu.
However, it's Exile's choppy, jazzy beats that make E&J worth the RPMs, from the buttery, Aloe Blacc-backed "When It Rains" to the dark doo-wop of "Twilight." Though far from classic, E&J deserves a few months to appreciate; it's a ray of Cali sunshine in the heart of winter. (Dirty Science)