“J Torah is a walking testimony. J Torah is a father, a husband, and a God-fearing man.”
J Torah fell in love with music from a young age. His favorite artists as a kid were James Brown and Michael Jackson. “My dad used to have this recorder that had a microphone, and everything hooked up to it. You would put the record on, and I would actually get on the microphone and sing those songs.”
Though he enjoyed a variety of genres, hip-hop was J Torah’s favorite, loving how the nature of rhymes and lyrics allowed expression. As a teenager, he admired his older cousin, who was very good at freestyling. “I mimicked other artists for a little bit, then I started to grow.”
His parents were faithful Christians and made sure to raise their son as such. “Growing up into adulthood, I started to allow certain influences to come in and change the way I would think and act.” Under the influence of peer pressure, he started doing things he shouldn’t have.
“We went from almost being shot at different parties and stuff, different places that I didn’t have no reason to be there. I’m just like ‘Something’s gotta give.'”
After graduating high school, he was involved in the youth and music ministry at his church in Augusta, Georgia, but was conflicted between serving the church and pursuing a secular music career. He began canceling church activities that he was responsible for leading. “I wanted to focus more on what I wanted to do, and that was secular music.”
One day, to spend time in the studio recording his own music, he canceled a meeting for the youth at his church. He had let someone borrow his car, who then used it to drive somewhere to buy drugs. The woman who borrowed his car got lost and called him to go pick her up. “When we picked them up and were on our way back into town… I got into a really bad car accident.” He got hit by someone in a truck which had run a red light, and “in that instance, my whole entire life flashed before my eyes… I remembered my pastor saying, ‘When that time [of your death] comes, I hope you have enough time to ask God to forgive you and accept Him into your life.”
The car was spinning in circles, and he asked God, “Lord, please stop this car.” J Torah asked God to forgive him for everything he had done, and “I stopped immediately. As soon as that car stopped, I’m sitting there, I’ve got blood gushing all out of my hand. My hand went through the windshield.” In addition to injuring his hand, he had multiple broken ribs and a broken leg.
“I’m here to share my testimony and show people how God has brought me through… without Him, I wouldn’t even be here.”
On September 20th, J Torah released an EP called Imperfekt. “I want the listeners to understand that they don’t have to be completely perfect.” He hopes that people will allow God to change their lives despite their faults, dispelling misconceptions that a person needs to improve their own lives before seeking God.
Imperfekt begins with a recitation of The Lord’s Prayer, something J Torah does to start each morning. “I feel like we need to incorporate that in our daily prayers.” When people hear his song and recite The Lord’s Prayer, J Torah encourages people to pay attention to its words, line by line. “I want you to be able to pray while listening to my EP.”
The following song, “Count It Up,” features Double ATL and singer Jor’dan Armstrong. The track encourages listeners to count their blessings, regardless of what blessings they have or lack. “Everyday [if] we wake up in the morning, we got food on the table, we got clothes on our backs, some of us have jobs, families, a roof over our head, those are the things that we should be grateful and thankful for.”
J Torah gets personal on “The Struggle Is Real,” sharing his experiences with illness and depression. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a condition which, usually temporarily, paralyzes one side of a person’s face. J Torah’s physical limitations also affected his mental health. “I could barely speak, and my head was clouded. My mind was literally cloudy; I really couldn’t focus. All I wanted to do was sleep.”
Between the effects of Bell’s Palsy, Chronic Kidney Disease, and experiencing post-traumatic stress, he considered suicide. “At that point, I started to see myself going downhill.” He became addicted to alcohol and at one point got into a severe argument with his sister and his wife. “I had nobody to go to, and I felt like I couldn’t go to God at the time.” Sitting with a bottle of alcohol and a bottle of pills, “as I threw the first couple in my mouth, it was like I heard this voice saying, ‘Don’t do it.'” J Torah had become despondent.
“At that instant, my wife came through the door, and she comes into the bedroom, [saying], ‘What are you doing?'”
He told her, “I don’t want to be here anymore. I’m hurting. I’m in a lot of pain. I can’t think straight, and I want to end it.” After speaking with her, he ended up putting down the drink and the pills and says his family helped him get back on his feet. “I was able to get back into my Word and understand that sometimes I go through certain things in my life where it might help someone else.” He hopes that “The Struggle Is Real” will encourage listeners suffering from depression.
The second-to-last song, the title track “Imperfekt,” seeks to encourage people that “you don’t have to be completely perfect to allow God to come into your life, to make changes in your life and make you a better person.” Noting that Jesus’ twelve disciples were imperfect, J Torah explains that Jesus wants to walk with them regardless of anything they have done or presently do.
“Revelation” concludes the EP and was first released many years ago when J Torah was making secular hip-hop. “It was weird because, over the years of my life, I’ve been prophesied to so many different times by so many different people and they were all saying the same thing.” People have told him that God is going to do great things with his life, often explicitly telling him about his future as a music artist. The song speaks about the end times, a period which J Torah believes is presently occurring. “This song is not to spook or scare anyone. Its to inform you. I want people to know, ‘This is where we’re at. This is where we’re going.'”
Outside of music, J Torah enjoys playing sports and spending time with his wife, two sons, and friends.
“I like to sit around with friends and have deep conversations about religion and the Bible because I don’t know everything and want to learn.”
This year, J Torah intends to release an autobiographical book, A Walking Testimony. He says that if listeners enjoy hearing his story in this album, they will love the book. “It’s a complete tell-all.”
Get or stream Imperfekt here.