A SEQUEL IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD
Chalk it up to talent, a stroke of luck or his multiple connections in the music industry, but it took singer/producer J Moss just one album to quickly cement himself as one of urban Gospel’s fastest-rising stars. Glitz and glamour are nothing new to him—as one-third of production team PAJAM, he’s worked with the genre’s brightest, including Hezekiah Walker, Kierra “KiKi” Sheard and Byron Cage, to name a few.
But his national debut, The J Moss Project, proved that he was a solo artist in his own right. The album was a case study on how to mix and match sensibilities without alienating fans, and the results showed: the effort yielded a quarter-
million discs sold, a chart-topping song (“We Must Praise”) and a bevy of awards and nominations.
The fields are ripe for the follow-up, and V2…The Voice Returns is one in every sense of the word. Please excuse the silly, over-the-top title: the move is trademark
J Moss, who, like in the many songs he’s co-produced, is unabashed to namedrop—or at least allude to—himself or his production team.
The funny thing is, J Moss doesn’t need shameless self-promotion. As V2 attests, his music has enough verve and character to stand on its own merits. In a way,
J Moss is like urban Gospel’s version of
R. Kelly, not just in vocal or rhythmic style, but in the individuality of his artistry.
One needs not look further than the apologetic “I’m Not Perfect” to just know it’s J Moss—the pitch-perfect tenor, the thick R&B groove, the multi-layered harmonies are all characteristic identity marks of the singer and his PAJAM troupe. That these elements can be pinpointed so easily is problematic: Does “The Voice” have anything to offer that he didn’t already try either on his debut or someone else’s album?
Yes and no. When stripped to the basics, V2 is a retread of done-heard tricks—and very good ones at that—that have worked before. “Florida,” for example, is this album’s “I Wanna Be,” beats-per-minute and all. Elsewhere, the heartfelt “Abundantly” is V2’s requisite “We Must Praise,” while the smooth “Let It Go” is “Livin’ 4” on autopilot.
These similarities don’t belie the album’s production values—PAJAM knows how to make hits, and V2’s surefire R&B stamp is no exception. At times, J Moss will even throw us a curveball or two—“The Operator” is an irresistible slice of neo-gospel—but these in no way neutralize the overall familiarity of the disc.
Review Provided by CCMmagazine.com