Local Review: KJ! – 801s Demos
Local Music Reviews
KJ! = Childish Gambino + Lil Dicky
Salt Lake’s KJ! is a performer with positive mojo and a bright presence. A skilled dancer by trade, KJ! has spent years writing and developing hip-hop tracks, and his debut album is every bit as captivating as one would expect from someone with such gusto.
There is a lot of energy on 801s Demos. “Make Em Say” immediately grabbed my attention and forced a head nod and a repeat listen (or two). Solid hooks, a steady flow and clever references throughout this track are indicative of the album’s sturdy footing. It’s a party anthem— a track to bump while heading out on Friday night.
“Broke” is a song for the everyman. Most of us have been broke or broken, often at the same time. It’s clear KJ! has been both, right there with us, but might be all the better and stronger for it. It seems like he has found the perfect fuel to remain driven to create and express himself for himself.
One thing I respect about some of the more recent hip-hop artists is their willingness to be vulnerable for the masses, something few dared to do back in the genre’s golden era. There are examples of this throughout 801s Demos, particularly “Cicadas” and “Fake,” which I feel offer accessibility and acceptance within a musical sect that hasn’t always been there.
There were a couple of songs I couldn’t get into, which is common for me—not necessarily a bad thing. I just wasn’t as easily engaged in a few places as I was in others. By and large, 801s Demos is a great debut offering from KJ! Lyrically, he brings it with dense bars, catchy, creative choruses and wit—something severely lacking in a majority of rap music these days. Give it a go. –Billy Swartzfager
Read more reviews of recent local albums:
Local Review: Number One Babe Team – See You Later
Local Review: Andrew Aguilera – Future Views