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J. Holiday takes listeners for a ride

Corbin Hicks | Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Washington, D.C. is not only the home of our nation’s capital, but it also produces really good R&B music from time to time.

Following in the footsteps of Raheem DeVaughn, the next great artist to come from the political capital of our country is J. Holiday. Despite being deeply entrenched in his D.C./northern Virginia roots, J. Holiday has released an album that is devoid of any regional flavor.

You won’t find any Go-Go music on “Back of My Lac'”, which has become a staple of D.C., Baltimore and the surrounding areas. You also won’t find any guest appearances on the album. On songs that seem to beg for a rap breakdown, Holiday provides his best attempt at rapping so as to not disrupt the continuity of the project. This provides an easier listening experience and helps the transition of the album from song to song.

The album begins with the title track, which signifies the upcoming sonic experience. You are basically riding shotgun, in a Cadillac or ride of your choice, with a young man who is not afraid to show different emotions.

Despite the usual suspects in the life of crime, gangbanging, and other staples of today’s urban music, Holiday isn’t afraid to show a tender side and sing about love and happy emotions from time to time.

He follows up the first track with two introspective songs, “Ghetto” and “Thug Commandments.” With these songs, he separates himself from the other cookie-cutter pop acts and displays depth with his songwriting.

The next song is the chart-topping single “Bed.” This song has undoubtedly been added to every baby-maker play list, as J. Holiday does his part to combat low birth rates. He also tries his hand at making a few club bangers, with the tracks “Come Here” and “Be With Me.” But he is able to make an entertaining song without the usual vulgarity, lewdness and attempts to “make it rain.”

The next song is “Suffocate,” in which he is figuratively unable to breathe without being in the presence of his significant other. The song works well, without being overly mushy or soft, and provides a smooth touch after the upbeat tracks.

Another standout track is “Pimp In Me,” in which he claims to be willing to settle down monogamously after meeting a woman with the body of a call girl and the mind of a teacher. He utilizes his full vocal range on this track, opening up the entire musical scale on the song’s ending.

“Pimp In Me” symbolizes the ease with which one can relate to the songs. Although the majority of the topics on this album have been covered before, few have been done with the amount of genuineness, ingenuity or freshness that J. Holiday provides.

It’s the universal appeal that sticks out the most about J. Holiday. Some may not like the occasional use of profanity in their R&B music, but the songs on this album are impossible to overlook in the downright beauty that they provide.

There hasn’t been this type of non-gimmick soul music by a new artist in a very long time, let alone an artist that sits on the top of the pop music charts. For those people who constantly harp on the declining quality of music and the lack of a decent artist, “Back of My Lac'” is a reassuring effort from a musician that should have a future producing quality music for a long time to come.