KJ-52 Collaborations

Imagine if Eminem found God and decided to take it back to the underground. It probably would sound a lot like KJ-52's Collaborations. Sure, the two MCs in question don't sound identical, but there are moments where the resemblance is remarkable, disregarding the subject matter of course. While Marshall Mathers is all about the cult of Eminem, KJ-52 embraces Jesus Christ, and under it all there are some interesting concepts that you may have heard before but are all given a cool Christian bent. Most odd is KJ's reinterpretation of Em's "Stan" with "Dear Slim," which addresses the comparison between the two MCs. Plus, he attempts an "A to the Z" with "ABC's and 1,2,3's," a "187 Proof" using rappers on "47 Emcees" and a cleaner version of "A Gangsta Fairytale" with "Nursery Rhymes." They're all well done, if unoriginal, but the best of them is "5th Element," a song about hip-hop from the perspective of a shoe, a microphone, a turntable, a spray can, and, nope, not a beatbox, the Son. There's also a cover of Black Sheep's "The Choice Is Yours," along with "Rise Up," which uses a beat that must surely be an outtake from Paul's Boutique. Before condemning KJ-52 for outright biting, it's worth noting that the songs sound fresh, thanks to KJ's heavenly obsession and light-hearted humour. And finally there's the title; not surprisingly, Collaborations is an album of collaborative efforts. The better vocal contributions come from Pigeon John (LA Symphony), soulheir the manCHILD (Mars Ill) and Playdough (ill harmonics), who also contributes one of the better beats, as does Flynn Adam Atkins (LA Symphony) and Deftone. But Collaborations would have been a better album without the melodrama of "Sonshine," "Wait For You" and "Where Were You." Still, it may just be the album that introduces Christian hip-hop to a much wider audience. (Uprok)