With a section of rap music obsessed with its own self-image, the personal reflections from Mr. J. Medeiros on his new album are almost shocking. Of Gods and Girls breaks away from the materialism and narcissistic escapism of the majority of present-day beats and rhymes, choosing instead to create hip hop for the everyday b-boy and girl. J’s lyrics stem from quotidian struggles and hardships, from making ends meet (“Money”) to relationships on the rocks (“Strangers”). While rapping about making dollar’s nothing new, his concern for women is one rarely heard in hip hop. It’s on display in the positive affirmations of “Her Wings” and unavoidable in “Constance,” a powerful and heart-wrenching tale of child pornography.
The production is strong throughout the album and provides ample space on which Medeiros lays his soul bare. Voicemail messages aren’t jokey interludes but real world downers- the listener is privy to bad news from a manager regarding a tour cancellation and J checking his bank account only to find out that it’s overdrawn. How many so-called MCs posing in videos with cash in hand would be this revealing about their own lives? Many say they want that “real hip hop,” but the stories told and feelings expressed on this album may be too real for most.