Article originally written for Rapzilla original article can be read here
In the vein of City High, The Fugees and Black Eyed Pea’s, SoulJahz came on the scene as a rap trio made up of two brothers and one sister. The lil sister, like L Boogie, can rap and sing with the best of them. Honestly, their first release caught my attention when Radio wasn’t playing much Hip Hop in San Diego County. “Rap Revolution” was a dope cut that local San Diego Radio was spinning. The song featured some dope lyricism which included rhyming every possible word ending in “ation”, that you could think of and then some. The brothers Joshua and Jekob had a Onyx / Wu Tang-esque flow which I was feeling at the time. Then a few years passed and they released “The Fault Is History” which was a more pop mainstream album that included a couple re-done cuts off their first indie album. They started touring and doing their new music more like pop singers rather than rap stars.
Their passion for social conscious and relevant music started to shine. At first I was a bit skeptical being the rugged hard core rap fan that I am. I felt the move was a bit of a sell out to make more money. However after hearing the group express their passion and desire to do more relevant music that reached a broader audience, it made sense. I’m still a fan of their first solo project and I have to pump that from time to time. After some more label issues and delays, the trio became the duo, and changed their name to The Washington Projects (minus Joshua the oldest brother). Jekob and Rachel continued to bring us good music with positive messages. Fast forward to now, they decided to take their music into their own hands with Jekob handling a lot of their production. Like most, they also decided to go the indie route due to label issues they experienced over the years.
The Washington Projects are back with another soulful, Hip Hop and R&B project that touches on social issues and challenges believers to be a light in the dark. This album does seem more gospel-centric than their previous two albums. At first I thought I would miss Joshua and the grimey old school Hip Hop flow. Honestly, you don’t really miss Joshua’s flow because the brothers did have a similar sound. Washington Projects have a pretty solid and mature sound. They seem to have a good grasp of the content, message and issues they want to present in musical form. I can’t say that I’m a fan of Jekob’s singing. I’d prefer less singing from Jekob but its passable and I doubt I’d like it without the auto-tune. Most of the time I’d pass on auto-tune but it actually works in their favor on this project. This album feels a little slower than their previous project, which I actually enjoy. I enjoy soulful hip hop music with a jazzy vibe (RIP Guru). I have to say the more pop modern sound of this crew has grown on me.
“Stay” is one of the best singles on the album. Jekob’s lyrics that caught my attention were “A rose in the concrete reaching for the stars,” “A man ain’t a man unless he’s there to grab his sons hand” and “Just showing up isn’t enough.” If that’s not a wake up call to man up and be a man and raise your children, I don’t know what is. Work is the most up beat track on the album. The song “Come Back To Me” has a dope beat that sounds kinda like a swarm of bee’s but gets a little repetitive. Jekob’s talking on the intro and the singing was a bit anemic and started to lose me a little bit. Jesus is “My Dream” is very much a worship cut. I have to admit I’ve heard the cuts “Light Up The Dark” and “Beautiful” which felt like left over cuts from their last project. So hearing the rest of the album helped me get a feel of the vibe of this project. The music video to the title track has got that pop star rock video treatment. The album includes a heartfelt dedication to their momma which has an Island music feel to it which was a nice ode to mothers.
This album did come somewhat out of the left field for me. As Jekob states “Try to pull me left, watch me pull them right.” This is a more soulful and more mellow album than their previous albums. Many of the songs on this album are very melodious and harmonious with some lite club bangers. The brother and sister duo let you know that you are beautiful. They seek to catch the attention of listeners who usually switch the channel and give them some good news. This is an album your going to want to tune into. Overall this is a pretty good, heartfelt and soulful album.
Release Date: June 15, 2010
1. Light Up The Dark
2. You Are Beautiful
3. My Dream
6. Come Back To Me
11. Heaven Here I Come