Jun 12, 2018

Review: Circle of Life - @24kjae__

I'm a big fan of coming of age films. 500 Days of Summer, Moonrise Kingdom, The Breakfast Club, Boyz In The Hood, Good Will Hunting, shoot even Superbad make my top ten list. Atop of that list is probably Lion King. Ironically enough, the story Jon Crawford takes us on today is named after such, Circle of Life. It's a really easy listen if you love a good story. Jon Crawford comes to bat with original cadences and song themes. You can just tell that they serve as a kind of blueprint on Circle of Life.

Let's get to it. I think the real meat and potatoes of this project starts at track three through seven. Feelings kicks off that stretch. Minimalist percussion blares through your headphones. I can't figure out what the distorted and possibly reversed loop is that serves as the melody. Jon explains in this track how it's difficult for him to open up to the people in his life because people assume they know everything with the little bit we show. No hook just venting. I think that is a recurring theme throughout this project. That is my favorite kind of rap. No gimmick, no super produced beat, just space to vent and be heard.

Daddy's Little Girl is obviously an ode to his daughter. She's young and may not understand where he's at in his life. It's a letter she's probably meant to read later on in life. He hopes she understands why he made the decisions he made and how painful it is for him to miss part of her childhood while chasing his dreams. He wants that to be inspiration for her. He talks about his upbringing in his family with his own father and how they felt about him becoming a 17 year old father.

River Road (played in the Party Michael Interview) is the deepest dive into Crawford's life on this album. Upbringing, the neighborhood, his life in the system. If he didn't do that with the bars he sure did with a monologue at the end of the track. If you listen to nothing else and want to know what Circle of Life is about you have to listen to River Road. Who, But Me? follows up next. To keep it funky I've never heard a P. Soul beat I didn't like. He's probably my favorite indie producer out. He's responsible for a few of my favorites by a lot of Jersey and New York acts. We finally get a hook for the first time in a while.

"Who gon' put my n*ggas on, who but me? Who gon' take care of the Fam man who but me?"

Track seven is 3 AM in Camden. The visual and lead single was placed perfectly for the album. Track sequence on Circle of Life is on point. In fact let's fast forward to how he ended the project. Patience and Take a Chance are different than the rest of the project. I think for the most part this entire project was introspective. These two songs are messages outward this time. It's really inspiring music to continue on, trust your journey, and not be afraid to follow your dreams.

I really enjoy the honesty in Circle of Life. I don't know if it's because I too am a Scorpio or a fellow twenty something year old black man figuring it out. Although I don't share the same upbringing and haven't become a parent yet I empathize with Crawford's hunger. It's hard knowing you're great and you're really just waiting on people to see. It's a breath of fresh air into today's music mainstream or local. He said as much in the project and I agree, I'm not that impressed with music nowadays. Crawford has an absurd upside of talent. Music hasn't been about talent for a long time. The stars just have to align and I pray they do. If ever there was an artist I thought deserved to blow up it's Jon Crawford. At minimum find solace knowing Circle of Life is timeless music. If not timeless to the general public, timeless within your own household. I know people are quick to call something a classic and I won't speak too soon. What I will say is if things don't click they way they should, one day Gabriella will listen to this and know her father loves her. You can stream Circle of Life LP on your favorite streaming service by clicking this link. I've also embedded it below for your consumption. In Due Time is dropping July 30th and you can also look out for Wish Me Well, dropping on his birthday in the fall. I need y'all to feel this.

Jonathan C. Ramsey
Jonathan C. Ramsey

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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