San Diego transplant from Baltimore emcee/producer/self-made engineer, J.Sharif, will be releasing his second full-length album, Life Matters, on Tuesday, June 28th. Sharif is the son of a renowned jazz musician (whose endorsement of the album says a lot) and the musical legacy has definitely been passed down from father to son. Sharif built this entire album from the ground up, proving that he is one of the rare renaissance men of hip hop – beats, lyrics, mixing, mastering, album art and business savvy. Not only is this album a testament of his ability to create art, it is his “this is me” that implicitly and explicitly explains who Jamar Sharif is.
Ironically, the album opens up with a track titled *Silence, as J. Sharif describes his plot to begin making noise in hip hop. The track seems to point out that two types of silence are what he is after, the hush of those who would question his timing and skill, and the silence necessary for an artist to contemplate questions like “why, when and how should I proceed?” Sharif recently performed this track at Beatshop’s open mic at Riley’s in Point Loma – he was a standout that night and many described him as “polished” due to the high quality of the performance. The second track, *The Hunger, is an interesting mixture of smoothed out guitars and vocals, and sharp, choppy lyrics. The placement of such “hungry” lyrics on such a “pretty” instrumental is a nice combination. *Money in Your Pocket is refreshing in so far as it is debunking the common misconception in hip hop, especially in the subcategory labeled as “rap”, that “it’s all about the Benjamins”. Sharif makes sure that his listeners know that he is not against making money in hip hop (and as a business man in general), but that he is not in the music FOR the money. Though the message is excellent, his delivery is not at it’s strongest on this track. Sharif’s delivery is diverse, containing some highs and lows throughout the album, but overall he is a solid emcee. The rest of the album follows suit, containing high quality production, a positive message, and on point lyrics.
Some of the standouts are as follows: *Body Language is a look into a conversation that is spoken between two lovers, both sexually and emotionally, through physical touch and gesture. The beat is perfect for the content and has a timeless quality to it. This is also one of Sharif’s strongest lyrical/delivery displays, as well as an example of his diverse talents as he sings the hook. *Freestyle Interlude is a barebones beat which allows Sharif to verbally flex. This is his delivery at its best, and his lyricism is on point as well here. *Exit ft. Peter Yaldo is SAC’s favorite track on the album. The guitar on the track reels the listener in from the first strum and soothes the soul as the story of a love disrupted is told. This track is timeless and will hold up when set against the best of them, I look forward to more of this from Sharif in the future.
SAC was fortunate enough to be invited in to Jamar Sharif’s studio a couple of weeks ago. Jamar is a gracious host, talented emcee, sound producer, has an ear for mixing and mastering and is a focused business man. Top Floor Connections is the name of his label and TFC is building momentum behind its hungry and motivated head, J.Sharif. Be sure to cop the album on iTunes Tuesday and keep your ears peeled for upcoming live performances on the west coast in the near future (you will not be disappointed seeing this act live!).
Peace and Love,