The St. Louis bred rapper, Json, is back with his fifth album Braille. After starting a relationship with Jesus as a young man, Json has become an experienced and well-known rapper in the Christian Hip-Hop industry. His fourth album, Growing Pains, garnered much praise and gained a lot of attention for the artist. The title of this fifth album refers to, as Json says, “the similarity between braille and music: you can’t see it, but you can feel it. Json tries to invoke emotions in his listeners through the feel of the music. When discussing his new album, Json said that when creating music, “I don’t look for a sound. I look for a feeling.”
The title track, “Braille,” opens the album with Json asking his fellow Christians, “What’s your life like / Is it Christ like?” In addition, he talks about suffering and carrying our cross, and that this is part of the Christian life. “Passing” is an upbeat song that features Serge and KB. The artists rap about “passing” the Gospel on to others. Serge explains it well when he says, “If they don’t hear, how will they believe?” In “Work,” Json reminds us that God is working in us and through us. Flame joins Json in one of the highlights of the album, “Play My Song,” where they call out the DJs who refuse to play hip-hop songs that have Christian themes. “They gon’ play your song? / I’m like, ‘not probably’ /…/ Unless I’m rapping that nonsense.”
“Can’t Let Go” is an encouraging song about holding on to God when times are tough. Json raps that “It’s not who’s holding on, it’s who you’re holding on to.” He then references a popular fiction story in “Benjamin Button,” a catchy song with the theme that age does not determine whether you have grown up. The rapper addresses sin in “Intoxicated,” where he raps about how sin can cause us to feel good. Lori of C.B.F., who is also in the album’s intro, sings in the hook of this song: “Do I like this place? / I think I’m buzzed / Am I intoxicated? / I love it but I hate it.”
Json changes to a slower, lighter mood in “Stars.” The rapper speaks to another person whom he is hoping he can lead to Christ and one day in heaven with him. Derek Minor and Bizzle join Json in the upbeat, head-bobbing song “Son Hit Me.” They rap about how they are changed when hit by the Son. “My past is like my shadow / I keep that behind me since the Son hit me.” In “Hold Nothing Back,” Json answer various questions regarding his career and his opinion on some of his brothers who have fallen in sin. Through his answers, Json expresses his desire to follow God’s plan and “shine the light.”
Perhaps the greatest highlight of the album, “Secrets (Part 2),” is a direct sequel to “Secrets” from Growing Pains, and Part 2 again features J.R. Json begins the song by stating that “Secrets” Part 1 was about his own wife. In this emotional song, Json raps about the pain he feels because of the sexual abuse his wife experienced. The album closes with “Trust You,” a song about always trusting in God. Json states powerful verse Isaiah 12:2 at the end of the song: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and I will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.”
Braille is an excellent follow-up to Growing Pains, and Json has become a veteran in the CHH industry. He succeeds in causing the listener to “feel” his music, and he couples that along with solid lyrics. “Secrets (Part 2)” is certainly the highlight of the album, and fans will enjoy all the other upbeat and encouraging songs this album has to offer as well as a great selection of guest artists. I can assure you that you will be adding multiple songs from this album to your playlists. With Braille, Json has released one of the best Christian Hip-Hop albums of the year.
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