Zomba Gospel 2007
J Moss’ forthcoming project V2 is an adrenaline rush of hip hop sound and beats, especially during the first third of the album. And yet while it is out of the box aurally, V2 stays true to the gospel lyric tradition of seeking deliverance from today’s struggles and temptations through faith and prayer.
For example, “I’m Not Perfect” is a musical head-shaking about having to shoehorn moments of prayer into frenetic days filled with conference calls and other responsibilities. “Let It Go” is an affirmation to keep an arm’s length from anyone who can make you crazy, whether lane changers or adulturers. “Afraid” underscores the importance of remaining focused in a sound-bite, attention-deficit society.
The project’s highlight is “Abundantly,” with a lovely melody that borrows somewhat from CCM but is punctuated by bluesy riffs from a Hammond organ. Nevertheless, I suspect radio listeners will clamor for the energetic “Jump Jump,” an urban wall of sound, with Kiki Sheard and 21:03 making guest appearances; and the equally ebullient “Dance” featuring Kirk Franklin.
In fact, guest appearances dot the project, since J can simply speed dial his relatives and fill a project with stars. Besides Kiki, friend Kirk, and PAJAM’s 21:03, cousin Karen Clark Sheard is present, as is fellow Detroiter Marvin Winans, Byron Cage, and Anthony Hamilton.
“Operator” is introduced by J as “something my pops would do.” Bill Moss might not do the song exactly like it is on this album, but it is a nod nevertheless to the traditional sound on which the Moss/Clark dynasty was raised.
What V2 really demonstrates is what a talented production team PAJAM is, and that it may well be on its way to doing for gospel music what Holland-Dozier-Holland did for Motown: change the rules and create a new quality standard.
Overall, V2 is gospel music as an energy drink: powerfully fun, eye-opening, and exhilarating.
Four of Four Stars