Album Review :
Json - Growing Pains

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Artist: Json
Title:  Growing Pains
Label:  Lamp Mode Recordings
Release Date: 2/21/12
Reviewer: Josh Burkey

Buy the Album:iTunes/Amazon


  1. Intro
  2. Making Me Over ft Ad3 and Tedashii
  3. 2 Human ft. Lecrae
  4. GP (Interlude 1)
  5. Held It Down ft. Butta-P & Ron Kenoly Jr.
  6. It’s Alright ft. Mikeschair
  7. I the Beast
  8. Brand New ft. Steve-T & God’s Servant
  9. GP (Interlude 2)
  10. My Joy ft. Jai
  11. Behind the Clouds ft. Chris-Lee
  12. We Not Folding ft. Trubble and Blacknight
  13. Secrets (Interlude)
  14. Secrets ft. J.R.
  15. Credit Roll ft. Benjah
  16. GP (Interlude 3)
  17. Goodbye

One of the funniest conversations that can ever actually happen among guys is the subject of pick-up lines. Probably one of the most infamous of them is, “Where have you been all my life?” Hearing it, we giggle and laugh. I can almost see a guy testing that line on a girl in the club and her giggling and just walking away. However, this pickup line of “Where have you been all my life?” was something I asked myself while listening to the new Json record, Growing Pains. I haven’t been into Christian rap entirely too long and usually when I started it listening. It was stuff that my friends were familiar with: Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii and pretty much anyone on the reach records family. However, I have to kick myself because I didn’t listen to Json sooner.

It seems that what was destined by man to be the year of our apocalypse, actually turned out to be the complete opposite. I believe this will be the closest this world will get to bowing in awe of God’s true glory. Json, just maybe a messenger to prove this point; that this world will bow before apocalypse. The album, Growing Pains, focuses heavily on how even though we’re going through pain. God has a purpose for the pain He is making you endure.

Look to the album’s opener appropriately titled, “Intro”. The album opens up on soft piano that is only heard briefly before the instrumentation of guitars, drums and beats kick in with Json soon to follow. In one point of this song he tells the listener, “Suffering has a purpose”; to follow it up a few seconds later praying to God. This album is very personal and showcases Json’s humility as a rapper and furthermore as a man of God to let us in on the season of pain he endured to grow closer to God.

The album continues with gems, “Making Me Over” and “2 Human”, both of which have impression guest appearances. Really showcase his talent as a lyricist and really to be honest again heavily shows his heart in making this record. The album hits a snag over the next few tracks which include what sounds like a song to his wife, a testimonial track (first of three) and a track that has an overplayed chorus, attempting the chorus of Carly Rae Jespen’s “Call Me Maybe” a run for its money. He attempts to showcase his roots in “I the Beast” and succeeds but he doesn’t really start to shine until “Brand New”, which just so happens to be his next track. Again, you will hit a dry season over the next few tracks until the listener arrives to the anthem, “We Not Folding.” The Secrets tracks (“Secrets (Interlude)” + “Secrets ft. J.R.”) probably deal with the heaviest subjects on the record and could be sure to break even the hardest of hearts. The album finishes up over the course of three more tracks.

We’ve discussed the tracks lyrical content and the heart behind them. In the world of music, it is the musicianship that serves as the melody and beat that serve on these. In some cases on Pain, the beats are fresh, hot and original. “It’s Alright”, “2 Human”, & “Credits Roll” just to drop a few titles. However, then we get to the typical ‘I’ve heard this from so-so last week’ kind of beats; the ones that seem familiar to us. “Making Me Over”, “We Not Folding”, & “I the Beast” are just to mention a few.

OVERALL:  This record is really personal. I see it as being a hit or miss with his fans. Take A Plea for Purging’s last record, The Life and Death of A Plea for Purging, for example: an extremely personal record from those guys. I know people who thought it was their best record, but I also know devoted who hated it. For me, Growing Pains, will be the same deal. To be honest, I completely loved this album. It definitely leaves an impression upon the listener. Granted, there are a few songs that track on and feel out of place. Sometimes in sharing your heart, you have to be open about all things, even if it’s not what people want to hear. Pain is solid in its deliverance, honest in its lyrics and contains a mixture of beats from young and old hip hop.