It’s Pronounced “Five Two" is the third full length album by Christian rapper KJ-52, following his debut 7th Avenue, and Collaborations (named for the fact that most tracks feature guest artists). Some of you may have heard of KJ-52 and the controversy surrounding his sound and his song “Dear Slim." For those who don’t, KJ-52 has been labeled as sounding like Eminem, which is valid. On his album Collaborations the song “Dear Slim" appeared and was KJ trying to tell Eminem that he has influence over the industry and that God could help him heal his pain. During the 2002 VMA’s, a fan backstage gave Eminem a copy of the song. Controversy came about not only because of the song’s content but because KJ-52 was so similar sounding to Eminem that soon many of KJ-52’s songs became listed as Eminem’s on peer to peer networks. Now on to the album review. KJ-52 is currently signed with Uprok Records.
KJ-52 is Jonah Sorrentino
-Some funny tracks
-74 minutes of music/skits
-A Christian Eminem may be too much for some
-74 minutes of music can be hard to take in one sitting
-All skits just act as filler
The Individual Tracks
Intro-The CD begins with an intro based off the album being a fast food restaurant. This gimmick is kept up through the whole album and will be referred to in the future skits/interludes. The intro itself is a beat with KJ introducing himself and the album as well as some turntables.
KJ Five Two-This track is all about KJ’s name and the fact that people do not know how to properly pronounce it. It is eerily familiar to the kinds of tracks Eminem did about his different names because of the subject of the song, which KJ may have deliberately copied. The song itself is a fun song with some interesting lyrics such as “sipping Lipton iced tea dipping switching lanes like an insane soccer mom ‘bout to hit the game." While it sounds dumb when you read it in context of the song it makes sense. This is a solid opening song to the album and will have you singing along with it. The beat is also perfectly suited to the song making it that much better. 4/5
Whoop Whoop-A short fast song holds the number two song spot on the album (number three counting the intro). The song is faster than KJ Five Two, but KJ performs the song well. The verses are short but entertaining. The chorus is simply “hear we go like whoop whoop" with a few variations to the first few words. The biggest complaint I have about this song is the second verse KJ rhymes that with that several times in succession, it isn’t terrible but it can get repetitive. Another good beat with this song makes it a decent track. 3/5
Dear Slim Pt. 2-The follow up to Dear Slim, the lyrics in the songs three verses address the controversy that started with the original song. The main point that he is trying to make is that he is concerned with Eminem’s salvation. He says “it wasn’t about hating you or starting some controversy, it wasn’t about blaming you or trying to make some money." Those who have heard the song Stan will recognize KJ’s use of the Dear Slim I wrote you references, and they add a little more feeling to the song. The chorus is simply “to whom it may concern." The verses are well written and flow quite nicely, and the beat again is well suited to the song. This song is the must hear on the album, if nothing else to see how he dealt with the controversy. The song is a single to contemporary Christian radio stations. 4/5
So In Love With You-This track seems like a song about cheating on someone you really love after they had been chasing you for a long time, however when you hear the song, you realize the song is about his love for Christ and how he acted when he would say he was a Christian but contradict it with his actions. If you are not a Christian this song is a skip on the CD for you even though the lyrics are well written and the beat is well done, it just won’t have any effect on you. If you are a Christian however this is one of the must listens on the CD. Either way this song is still below the other songs on the album and sounds like filler. 2/5
Cartoon Network-The first truly comical song on the album. KJ talks of his adventures in cartoon land. The lyrics are really funny to listen to, and again work well over the beat that is provided. KJ uses another simplistic chorus in this song, which puts more focus on the verses. The song tells of an open mic contest where he competes against cartoons. Once verse two and three come in KJ begins his discussion of Jesus it is minimal, and if you are not Christian, it will not take away from your enjoyment of the comedy in the track. Several cartoon characters are mentioned and the ending makes the song make more sense when you learn how KJ got to cartoon land. 3/5
Rock On- KJ-52 joins Rob Beckley (vocalist for the band Pillar for more info see the review of Pillar’s album Fireproof) to do a rap-metal track. This track features a formula similar to Stay Up on Pillar’s Fireproof, where KJ does a verse then begins the second verse eventually introducing Rob and letting Rob do his thing. The lyrics are slightly Christian again, but more based on the fusion of genres. Rob does a good job alongside KJ. KJ does all the chorus work which again is simple. 3/5
Back In The Day-Another single off of this album, this song talks about KJ growing up in the 80’s. It is actually very funny in verses one and two, however verse three becomes serious talking about when he first discovered God. The chorus is simple again, which has become expected on this album. The lyrics will bring back memories because of the descriptions KJ gives of the time period. This is solid song and the beat has a very slight retro vibe (I said slight) to it giving the song a little more power. 3/5
Can I Speak With A Manager?/Ya Bred Stank-The first interlude continues the fast food gimmick and melts into the hidden track? (The track list lists the hidden tracks making them a little less hidden). The song is supposed to be funny, and it is to a point but then it gets stupid. It is usually a skip. 2/5
47 Pop Stars-KJ did an short song on Collaborations called 47 MC’s and this is the same type of song blown up into three minutes. This song has the best lyrics on the album as KJ incorporates the names of 47 different pop and rock stars into the verses. This song is fun to listen to because it will have you counting the pop stars and it can be hard to find some of them without reading the lyrics. The chorus is simple and doesn’t have much to do with song, but the beat is fun so it can be forgiven. This is one of the best songs on the album. I won’t use any lyric quotes because it is better to hear how he uses groups such as Rage Against the Machine, and Linkin Park in the song. 4/5
Pick Yourself Up-This is a R&B influenced song featuring the almost unknown Christian R&B singer Donnie (It is a girl). KJ and Donnie split the verses and she sings very well in this song. Donnie voice is used a lot in this song which isn’t a bad thing. Her voice makes this song better, although the lyrics are very Christian, which may turn some listeners off, although they can be applied beyond Christianity, since the song is about picking yourself up (surprisingly) and not giving up. The beat, the lyrics, and the vocals are great making this another solid song. 4/5
Don’t Go-This song talks about KJ’s parents and his life when they got a divorce. It is a serious song, and is heavier than most of the songs on the album. The song is easily applied beyond the realms of Christianity. The beat is heavy and works with the intensity that KJ raps the lyrics. He wrote very powerful lyrics for this song and it is worth listening to. The verse is simple saying only “oh I miss you so much mommy/daddy please don’t go." The verses talk about KJ’s coping with the divorce from denial, to acceptance. This song is possibly the best on the album. 4/5
Check Yourself-This song has a solid beat going behind it, and lyrics about respecting one’s body, this song is a decent track. The lyrics can be a little corny especially with his use of slang such as holla and check yo’ self. The simple chorus is in this song as well and would make more sense if it was expanded slightly. The message is there, but the delivery can be almost to corny or clichéd at times to have any effect, which is what the song was wrote for, to give his teenage listeners advice. If the song presented itself a little more seriously it may have a better effect or lasting impression. 3/5
Infomercial (interlude)-KJ advertising his “restaurant." It is funny to listen to. It also contains KJ’s crack on the mullet haircut which has appeared at least once in all three albums.
#1 Fan-Another serious track this song deals with KJ having an e-mail conversation with a girl claiming to be his number one fan, and her life of abuse and rape. KJ tries to convince her that suicide is not the answer through e-mail. It is a very powerful song and the lyrics are again well written the chorus which is simple is sung by Jubilee who also portrays the number one fan in the song. The beat is dark and fit’s the tone of the song well as KJ raps more intense as the story gets to it’s climax. The song also has a few twists in the story making it a solid track that will have you listening all the way through to hear how it turns out. 4/5
I Feel So Good-The worst track on the album no questions asked. The beat is great but the lyrics are terrible. Every line ends with right now during the verses and that becomes repetitive after the second time. The chorus is just “ I feel so good" over and over. This song is filler on an album without many filler songs (the skits on the other hand). 1/5
I’m Guilty-The last track is the most serious on the album. The song like others on the album is a story. This time it is about KJ-52 standing trial for the death of Jesus Christ. The lyrics are Christian and there is almost no other way to apply them. Even with that being said they are well written and KJ gives what may be his most emotional performance on the album (Don’t Go is the only other track that may hold that title). The beat is simple yet dark and goes well with the song. The song like the other stories has a twist at the end and is worth listening to so you can hear how this song ends. If the lyrics were more applicable to the secular world, the song would be much better. 3/5
Outro/Gimme Dat-The Outro is KJ talking about what he values in life. The hidden track will speak to several people. It is not Christian in any way, but rather speaks about KJ-52’s addiction and his visit to MDA. MDA stands for Mountain Dew Anonymous. Being a Mountain Dew addict myself, this song is funny, and I can agree with doing some of the things he mentions like drinking four Dews in a row. A funny track, and an upbeat way to close the album. 3/5
-KJ Five Two
-Dear Slim Pt. 2
-47 Pop Stars
-Pick Yourself Up
This album will appeal most to Christians, especially those who enjoy Eminem’s music. However if you are looking for a positive view in rap music, or some funny songs this album may be worth picking up.