It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a release as honest and touching as J Faith’sMoving Out. Upon the very first track, one would be struck straight away by how unique and ambitious he is as a hip hop artist. The album begins with a conversation taking place over piano chords between an artist and a record label representative, exposing the ways artists get exploited by callous companies that seek to make a quick buck at whatever costs. It’s here that J Faith highlights some of the overarching themes of the release: mental health awareness, having a positive impact through music, and focusing on what’s important in life, like family and staying true to oneself.
It’s clear that J Faith is an artist who lives through his music, wanting only to use his talent to motivate others. And what talent he has! The production is flawless and each track is distinct, sometimes sampling guitar or piano and all varying in intensity. They transition into each other cleanly, maintaining interest throughout the album’s one hour duration.Tracks like “Outside,” “Don’t Try Just Do,” and “Gettin’ Right” all include cool beats coupled with downright infectious melodies. There’s also some very soulful electric guitar used in “One Day,” which, like most of the sampling and instrumentals on the album, is notably tasteful. He also features other artists such as Th3ory, Ethyric, and Kemic, just to name a few, so Moving Out really comes together as a collaborative and professional project.
Lyrically, J Faith illustrates that he is a pro. The content goes through clear arcs as he raps about the music industry, his mission, his struggles, the recent Black Lives Matter movement, and the importance of maintaining an appreciation for life.“Around the Corner” is when the theme of the album becomes more heavy, focusing on the oppression of black lives. This track includes an extremely powerful feature from Iamsoloco, who delves into the history of systemic racism and laments his lack of faith in the situation getting any better through the current system. Near the end he even cites the death of George Floyd, saying “I’ll be damned if you kneel on my son’s neck.” This, as well as J Faith’s reference to Botham Jean’s equally unjust killing, was absolutely chilling, and left me speechless. It’s very real. Many of us use music as a form of escapism; a way to forget about the bad things in our lives. In a perfect world, nobody should even feel like they have to beg in a song to not be murdered. But J Faith uses these events to raise awareness and strive to make a better world. This puts the next track, “In My Lap,” in better context, where J Faith explains how he came into the world of hip hop, deciding to “move out” of a negative mindset and into a more positive and hopeful one. The lyrics in this track are an excellent example of how masterful a writer J Faith is, with bars like “Once a pessimist who found it hard to see beyond the mist / Here’s a craftsman who went and turned it into bliss.” He then ends the song with spoken word, promising action and change. Followed by “Don’t Try, Just Do,” it’s difficult to listen to this album and not feel called to action.
J Faith has not only created a hip hop album that goes pretty hard, but an inspirational piece of art that motivates listeners to work towards changing the situationsof themselves and others for the better. I find it especially touching how much he gushes with gratitude to have the life he has, even despite some of the hardships. He teaches us that changing something as simple as our mindsets can have massive impacts on how we live our lives. It’s a release that communicates major growth for J Faith as he emotionally and mentally matures through his career. He seems like a genuinely talented and beautiful soul, and I am very interested to see what else he will share with the world that will undoubtedly have just as positive an impact as Moving Out.