Salvation is the most recent installment of CJ the Genesis’ catalog, and on top of that it’s an impressive progression in his career. I’ve been listening to CJ since early in his music career and the guy doesn’t stop getting better in all aspects. His previous release, Impulse, was very impressive and sort of had an underlying love theme to it. This album is even better with a more spiritual theme to it.
First of all let’s get this out the way. CJ’s beats are on point in general, but on this album. Booyyyyy. Ain’t nothin’ less than fantastic on this album. The instrumentals are filled with good melodies, rich bass, drops, you name it. All of the songs have a mood to them that matches the song well. He also picks some of the most interesting samples that you wouldn’t expect from most beatmakers. And in songs like “Painless” he uses it such samples in creative ways that don’t feel the least bit contrived. The instrumental experience on this album is top notch, no questions asked.
Another way this album is a winner is the fact that CJ is beyond transparent in this project. The songs detail very touchy subjects of this man’s personal life, family, and conflicts in an empathy-inspiring way. You can’t listen to “Painless” without getting chills. “Jaded” expresses his personal qualms in the most vivid way as if he linked feelings with you.
“Staring at the ceiling
Filtering feelings out”
puts you in his mindstate instantly as he continues on with his song. And a few of the other songs also have profound concepts, like one of my personal favorites “Banky Edwards” which is on some Hakuna Matata stuff through God. “S&A” is a short story of his encounter with a couple of angels.
Aside from concepts and stories, CJ has a few interesting instances of wordplay. For example, “You’ll get 8-up like I snagged 800 coins in Mario.” A lot of allusions themed on video games, Japanese culture, wrestling, etc. “nerd” stuff or I’d say stuff you’d know bout if you had any sort of childhood but whatever. And these fashions of lyrics are present in his either hype songs or his hard spitting “rappity rap” type songs. If you don’t know what I mean by that, songs like “Sodom’s Destruction” and “Ox Blood”. These songs have a distinctive personality to them iconic of CJ that you’d notice if you listen to his other work. Basically, it’s clever stuff, but it’s not nothing dat would have you jumping out a window screaming “OMG” or calling all your friends on 12-way saying, “did you just hear what this n*gga said!?”
As a closer, this album’s greatness lies in its great sound. All the songs sound great and carry a setting or mood to them that sticks with the theme of each respective song. The production is among the best, period. CJ has the most personable lyrics in the rap game. And the melodies and cadences sound good on the instrumentals. This is a must listen album, and I’m not saying that because CJ is the homie or cause he’s from my hometown/area; this is literally one of the better hip-hop albums I’ve heard and the best I’ve heard so far this year.
Album Grade: B+