Jai Musiq has appeared on the site a decent amount over the last few years. He was first featured on SOTB through a piece Valentino gave the site. Between that time and the release of his H.I.M. album, the Memphis native and Morehouse graduate has spent precious time perfecting his vibes and his sound. On H.I.M, we hear the continued evolution of his sound but also hear what could be his musical final form.
From the title track through the outro, Jai preaches a lot of self-improvement with a confidence of an artist who’s been in the game for much longer than he has. Additionally, Jai balances the gruff with the positive and creates a sound that’s equally upbeat and motivational while still being sure to let it be known that Jai is here for a long time, not just a good time. The sequencing of the tracks on this album is also a high point.
For instance, we get the boisterous “Used to Me”–where Jai proclaims that he’s not going anywhere–followed by the Chance-meets-early-Kanye-esque “Be.,” which plays like a sort of self-help mantra.
A few songs later, we get a smoker’s anthem that continues the positive vibes in its own way. While I don’t smoke, I’m always here for a good smoker track and “Kush Coma” is one of them. It’s lyrically-sound and also manages to tell more about who Jai is and why he’s as calm and chill as he is, even when getting a bit gruff or a smidge darker on some tracks. An example of this is the more-melancholy “How Many Times,” which finds Jai expressing some doubt but also managing to say that, while he sometimes doubts whether he’ll achieve his goals, he’ll never give up. That’s the type of confidence and motivational speak that permeates through this project, even in its not-as-happy moments.
Sonically, the album bounces between highs and lows. This seems to be to illustrate the highs and lows of being an indie artist–but also the highs and lows of just being a Black man. He’s definitely got his proverbial third eye open on this one, searching for answers while finding his own growth and personal experience-gaining situations. On the somber “I Don’t Belong in This World!!!,” Jai questions if he’s destined to be here for as long as he wants, mainly because he’s unlike the average artist or person. However, he doesn’t throw in the towel, which is commendable in its own right. That’s especially since the song after it, “Chosen,” proclaims that Jai wants to be a vessel for God’s love and teachings–while leading others away from the darkness this world contains at times.
The album doesn’t just focus on Jai, though he is a main focus. In other words, the songs here are introspective as much as they’re outward looking. He’s empathic towards the struggles of many, while recognizing some of his own. Either way, he knows he’s not going to stop until he reaches his peaks and brings as many people as he can with him. If this sounds like something you’d like, check out the project above and remember to support dope music in all its forms.