J-Carter returns just months after the release of his last album Time To Shine. I’m Still Here is a follow-up project that leaves you twenty tracks deep in motivational, inspiring hip hop vibes that hold true to the J-Carter sound and style.
Ain’t Nothing to Play Wit kicks things off with colour and weight, a hard-hitting, attention grabbing opener that offers pace and power combined and quickly reminds you of that J-Carter vocal tone and flow that’s inherent in his sound. Death’s Best Friend follows and keeps the big city vibe alive but redirects the subject matter somewhere intriguing and undeniably confident. The motivational aspects are in full force, in a refreshingly interesting way (conceptually speaking).
Different Directions is an early highlight for its detailed story-telling and the clear passion of both the rap and the featured melodic vocal parts. After this, Don’t Doubt My Love lightens the mood with a hopeful jazz-cafe aura and a quicker pace with plenty of detail. J-Carter pours a lot of himself into this album and this makes itself known more and more so as each track, each musical backdrop, and each real-life topic plays out. This track has a perfectly addictive level of energy and an ear-worm of a hook.
Going Hard Tonight emerges with a surprising delicacy considering the theme. J-Carter utilises creative freedom and does whatever the moment seems to need. This mellow track and the laid back story-line break up the intensity and add a flicker of easy going vibes to the playlist.
Elsewhere on the project things get heavy and light intermittently, consistently holding close to your interest and keeping those classic hip hop vibes alive and well. The album’s title track is an easy highlight, the opening intensity and the subsequent ambiance and flow make for something that totally raises the mood of the room and impresses flawlessly from start to finish. Make Your Feet Work is another musical highlight but one that comes with a lighter subject matter – it makes for a pretty memorable and smooth track.
Bringing back the realness in a heartbreaking way is the self-explanatory Miss You Mother. The track connects with anyone who has experienced the inevitable pain of losing a loved one. Arrangement is important and this song comes at the right time among the entertaining aspects surrounding it. Open Your Eyes is another that smashes into the room with a level of reality that’s impossible to ignore. The track opens with a harrowing scene that feels all too genuine. The song that follows deals with domestic abuse in a heavy way but with as light a beat as possible to let the ideas really peak.
As the album approaches its end, it’s easy to just let the music and the ideas play out. The project makes for an eclectic and interesting playlist, not too loud – not screaming for your attention – just utilising the bounce and the emotional potential of the music to stand tall.
These Lyrical Guns takes a moment to remind you of the rap skills of the man behind the music. The cockiness of classic hip hop shines brightly and the energy feels hyped and fit to gear you up for the weekend. Later on, and in stark contrast, Who’s Tired is an important track that tugs on the heart strings with an infamous sample from The Green Mile. The beat and the performance that follow are some of the best yet. Carter has arranged this project brilliantly.
As a final track, Your Third Eye is a definite highlight, an ambient and soulful piece with a rising energy level that seeks to uplift and inspire positive change. J-Carter is a thoughtful artist, creative and expressive, unafraid to deal with topics others may stray away from. This is only his second album, and by the rate and quality of these releases – you can expect bigger and bolder things to keep on emerging over the coming months and years.