With his sixth album, No Filter, Json brings us an album filled with honesty about his identity and our identity alongside anthems that we can shout to make a defining statement of who we are according to the Word of God. I enjoyed reviewing this album since Json’s fourth album, Growing Pains, was one of the first albums I ever reviewed, and I have followed his progression closely since. No Filter carries a clear theme throughout, similar to what Growing Pains did, and although not as personal (by Json’s own admittance), the album is powerful.
The majority of the album was produced over a period of five days at a studio in Miami. The main team working on the album was Json, J.R., D-Flow, Mashell Leroy, and G-Roc. This brings cohesiveness to the album that wasn’t quite there with Braille. Another difference in the production on this album from previous installments was that J.R. did most of the recording, which both allowed Json to flow in the studio while also pushing him in terms of lyrical delivery. This is evident on “Get It Got It.” Even though it maintains Json’s signature sound, he plays with cadence throughout the song, always maintaining your interest like a good public speaker.
The heart of the album is about tearing away the facades that we build up, taking off the many filters that we put on our lives. “Light Up” is a cry for our true selves to be shown, to not live in a lie any longer. A clear statement is “You can be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.” “Identity” continues to follow this message. It is about understanding our identity in Christ instead of the identity that is placed upon us. Jai features on the hook, and the depth and soulfulness of her vocals rounds out this heart wrenching song.
The highlight on the album for me is “Remember.” It is a song reminiscing mostly about the early nineties. The song has a laid back, neo-soul feel, yet the bass still hits hard. J.R. shows up on the hook, and as always, he takes the song to the perfect place.
The album transitions into songs that are statements about God and how his identity is our identity. The first is the heart hitting “My G,” followed by “Stunna” and “Love to Do It.” “Love to Do It” rocks a west coast feeling, featuring upcoming west coast group Keno Camp. This track just begs to be cranked up with the windows rolled down (if I could rock hydraulics on the family SUV, this would be the song to do it to).
The album ends with “Stronger” and features HillaryJane on the hook. This song once again tells us where our strength can be found. It is a perfect ending to this album.
I am a fan of Json, and this album didn’t let me down. I am also a big fan of honesty and reality. I like when an artist can unpack their feelings into beautiful music that comforts and soothes yet gives us a chance to cheer. Json gives us a glimpse into his past with this album, and by letting us see his past, he allows us to see our future in Christ. The fact that two of the most personal songs any artist has ever released, “Secrets Part 1” and “Secrets Part 2,” make another appearance as bonus tracks on this album, shows the commitment that Json has to being open and honest about his life and struggles, strengthening the juxtaposition they create against songs like “Stronger” and “Identity.”