Bar Exam: Jon Keith – Lost Boys (Album)
A One Listen Album Review
King’s Dream entertainment has been making some moves. Headed up by Ruslan, there have been some intriguing people to hop on the label, being Jet Trouble and Jon Keith. With Ruslan impacting the culture for the better with his charismatic leadership that is exemplified in his vlogs, interviews and his own art, I’m interested to hear what a person of his stature would find to be dope. So here we are. Jon Keith’s album “Lost Boys” dropped on February 28th. I feel like he’s a name that’s been under the radar until recently. Let’s see what his music is all about.
Anything You Want – the layers that pile up on this song are so on point. It’s actually a pretty simple beat, there’s just a lot of tasteful production choices that roll in accordance with what Jon is able to do on the mic. I love it when the beat gives the emcee room to show his talent like this. This is a promising opening track. Jon begins pretty even with the beat, and then busts into double time later. “Why you even talking about your wrist? I am not the one you think you miss.”
We all grow up with role models in our lives. People we look up to. For me I had a baseball coach who spoke into me at an age where I was probably the most malleable. Professors in college, close friends, family members. For Jon Keith, he speaks on “Rewrite” of the environment he was brought up in, and how he was able to get out of it. You can make your history look a lot different by the choices you make today. “My family got a past but we got the rewrite.” This is a powerful song with a strong theme that can impact the heart of the listener.
Up to this point what I’ve heard is terrific. As far as the production goes, it seems like less is more. I dig that choice, it gives room for Jon to carry the songs on his own. Don’t get me wrong, this beat on “All In Hand” bangs, with some cool effects on a keys loop and big bass. Jon bobs and weaves to the beat with ease. Above the Bar all the way.
Aww Yeah – It seems to me like Jon is just having fun on this track. This brings bigger bass than we’ve heard so far, and the hook isn’t much to call home about. Jon shows confidence on the mic whether he’s singing or rapping, the only problem with this song is that I had a hard time following him. Not sure what he’s talking about but it sounds great.
One Small Slump
The next song is “Mean It/Talk About It” and it begins with a similar keys vibe to it. Somewhat of a reversed sound effect on those keys, and then some chopped up beats. This instrumental morphs into a drum loop with a live performance sound on the guitar and bass. As intricate as the music is here, this may be a bit of a slump on the project for me. I wasn’t vibing with his concepts on this song either.
Never mind, we’re back. The BrvdonP produced “Backwards” begins with some bubbly synths into a nice trap beat and it’s nasty. Wordsplayed is featured the hook and it’s all above the bar. “Lookin at me weird, like my shirt on backwards/Hold up wait a minute must be something wrong/Y’all done got me messed up I’m not here for rap/I do not want nothin this is all for God”
The energy is picking up now with that last track. We’re onto the next one, “Come Around” featuring Joey Jewish. Another beat with intricate layers on it, double time raps throughout, and some storytelling. Shoot. I gotta come back to this one.
Track 8 is entitled “Incognito Pt. 2” and it’s absolutely bonkers as well. Instrumental is full of horn samples and hi hats. Rev Mizz brings a catchy melodic hook, and these flows are out of the box. I dig it. Ruslan bats cleanup and throws down.
“Lost Boys” is the title track and keeps the project consistently above the bar. There are a lot of levels to what Jon Keith can do with a performance. He’s got swagger with the flow, and for some reason I want to compare him to Logic. While he’s not just a double time rapper, he also sings and brings purpose in his topics. As I type this, there’s been two “All That” (90’s nickelodeon show) references though.
I’m excited about this music man. I’m texting friends as I bump this. “The Difference” is a song about how we are to be an example to the world of Christ’s light in us. This is a great concept and it’s pulled off to perfection. People need to see that there’s a difference. We’ve been transformed by the renewing of our mind through Christ. “You brush it off because it’s one night/Can’t nobody play that judge right/God all he do is love right/That’s why he gave his blood right”
We wrap this up with “What You Need” and it’s a straight up hip-hop beat. It’s got the drum kit with the clean electric guitar looped. More please. Have I talked enough about Jon Keith’s performances? He’s not just gifted with bars, but he uses different tones in his voice in all of the right areas. He’s filthy talented.
I had never heard Jon Keith until I reviewed Ruslan’s newest project this year. The first impression was above the bar and that’s what I’ve experienced here. With all the melodic rap out there, I still have to submit that bars are important. Jon Keith can bring it all on another level than most modern rappers. One thought I would add is that I think he could still be a little more on point topically with his writing so as to guide the listener in a specific direction. The topics throughout some of these tracks seemed like a grab bag of randomness, but there’s still some challenge to be found. I just see so much potential for more depth. However, Jon Keith has been given a platform to use his music to steer people towards Christ and he didn’t waste it. That’s commendable in itself. Big props to Jon Keith on a spectacular debut album.
Overall Rating: Above The Bar