Json: Growing Pains | Posted March 31, 2012
Json is a part of that group of great Christian rappers who is not part of the Reach Records group. He has been on many Reach projects, and has become very popular, but for some reason they have not signed him to the record company, even though I feel he would be a great fit for 116 Clique. Json is signed with Lamp Mode Recordings, which also boasts Shai Linne, Stephen The Levite, and S.O, among others. Growing Pains is his fourth album, and definitely his best to date. The album shows a lot of maturity in Jason 'Json' Watson, with every one of the tracks being emotional and hard hitting.
The intro is a cool song that opens up the album very well, showing exactly what Json wants us to get out of the album: through pain and suffering comes growth in Christ. After that come two of my favorite songs on the album. The first is "Making Me Over," which features AD3 and Tedashii and is definitely a highlight of the album. The song has a sweet beat and spells out exactly what the theme of the album is, just like the intro did. Json sounds spectacular on the song, and it is evident that Tedashii was perfectly cast for this track. "2 Human" then follows that up with a much more emotional and heartfelt song. The song features Lecrae and is another one of the better songs on the album which talks about how he and all the other Christian rappers make mistakes because they are just humans. Many people put Christian artists on pedestals and then think that they cannot mess up because they should have an amazing spiritual life, but this song exposes that lie and Json says that really they are not unlike the rest of us - he is just a human.
"It's Alright" fits in the new trend of Christian rappers having CCM artists on their songs. Json chose Mikeschair to be on this song, which I believe is my favorite choice so far by a Christian rapper. The two mix together really well, and it made for a very emotional song that talks about how even in the hard times Christ is there for us ready to hold us up.
"Brand New" is definitely one of the lows of the album. The beat is alright, and the rapping by the guest artists is decent at best. The lyrics are great, and Json did a pretty good job, but the chorus really gets on my nerves after 10 seconds of listening to it. Steve T really seems to be striking out this year. He was on my least favorite track on Flame's album, "Running," and now he is on my least favorite on Json's album. He is a pretty good rapper, but they keep putting him on the weaker tracks unfortunately.
I am really starting to gain a lot of respect for Chris Lee. He does an amazing job as a guest artist on every song he touches, and "Behind the Clouds" is no exception; he always seems to mesh well with rappers, and I have come to really love his voice. "Behind the Clouds" talks about how through pain and hard times there is always a silver lining in Christ, and is a very uplifting song to listen to. "We Not Folding" follows up this song really well with a more hard hitting and true rap song. I love the beat to this one, and the guest artists are banging. Trubble is still not one of my favorite artists, but I think she is slowly growing on me. "We Not Folding" talks about how even in the hard times we do not have to give up, because we have Christ on our side.
Benjah has the utmost respect from me; I think I may respect him more than anyone in the Christian music industry. He can sing well, rap well, produce well - everything he touches seems to turn to gold. I love his part in Json's song "Credits Roll," which talks about the fact that when we become Christians the curtain comes goes down on our old lives and we can live in the freedom of Christ from then on. It is a great song, and one of my favorites on the entire album.
Json has proven once again that he is one of the premier Christian rappers who definitely deserves a part of the spotlight. Growing Pains is as mature an album as it gets, and I love the lyrical content on the record so much. The beats are pretty good throughout the album, and most of the tracks are solid. There are a few songs that I feel are not up to the level they should be, which is why I have given it a little bit of a lower rating. I would still highly suggest checking this album out if you like rap music.
Favorite Song: It's Alright
Favorite Lyrics: "Give me the scraps, I don't deserve the feast from your table. But Christ died for the broken, frail, weak, and disabled - meaning me. So I will not accept the sacrifice, do I think my righteousness comes in when I'm just acting right?" (Form the song "Credits Roll")
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from The Christian Music Review Blog. Click here to visit today!