Joshua – Your Time Is Coming Soon… – Album Review
“Do not assume that I have come to bring peace on Earth.”
While that might very well be the case here homies, Joshua also stands a great chance of uniting the people through the music he makes as he prepares for battle, ready to scorch the planet. Dude is only twenty-three years old and he’s played every instrument, sung every bar, wrote all the lyrics – everything we hear on his debut album is ALL Joshua, ALL day homies…and believe me when I say, I doubt that this guy even knows how great he truly is. Records like Your Time Is Coming Soon… are that next evolution & phase that’s a step ahead of the rest…for a debut album, this is beyond all possible expectation and a seriously memorable first impression from an artist that’s clearly got his head in the game. Representing Columbia, SC – Joshua’s got real potential to go far, far beyond the borders of his state with what he’s got here on Your Time Is Coming Soon… – this is an exceptional debut, straight-up.
I’ll say this right off the bat as well…I think he’s out-written me here. As in, the album is laid out in chapters, I-XI – and looking at the titles, you can tell there’s likely a deep thematic element to this entire record that’s probably flying well over my head. I can see/hear the Latin American tie-ins…I can recognize names like Pablo in the title might refer very well to the infamous Escobar…I can see from the album cover that Joshua understands this is the time for revolution, and you can hear that in some of the social commentary that runs throughout this album. I know there are probably several levels that this record spins on due to the remarkably quality and content on Your Time Is Coming Soon… – I’m not going to pretend I’m capable of getting right inside his head and know exactly what the thread that pulls it all together is…but that being said, I certainly understand what cohesion sounds like and Joshua’s put an album’s worth of tracks together that belong in this set. Your Time Is Coming Soon… flows perfectly.
Honestly. This guy is TWENTY-THREE. Just in case you missed that earlier. Mind blowing.
Give it one spin and you’ll likely attune yourself to the vibe, style, & sound of Joshua’s music by the time it’s done; give it several spins and by the time you’re done the third repetition you’ll be hooked so hard you’ll actually be surprised at how quickly the strength of the bond to this record can be formed. There is…quite frankly…SO MUCH innovation and SO MANY ideas on display here that you can’t help but be glued to Joshua’s every move on the m-i-c. I’ve been listening to Your Time Is Coming Soon… all week long and I STILL couldn’t tell you if I like this guy better in the flow of his rhymes or singing in the hooks he writes…and then like, I mean, if I get started on how rad the music is, we’re gonna be here all day. The balance and imagination on this album already reaches depths that artists/bands that have been around for years would be jealous of – no joke, it’s beyond a good debut – Your Time is Coming Soon… is a genuine highlight of 2018, full of quality ideas, commitment, relentless ambition & stunning execution. Still some room to grow of course…it IS still a debut…but MAN this dude is already firing on all cylinders.
I think the hooks of “Rain Of War, Pt. I” are the kind that, through repetition, become completely addictive – in contrast, I think the slick hooks on a track like “Death Of Pablo, Pt. II” are immediately accessible. Definitely vibes with mass appeal – the flashy sound fits perfectly with the themes in the lyrics and stylistically cool delivery of Joshua on the mic as he slithers & slides his vocals around the beat. While I identify more with some of the more low-key moments on this record than any others – I can acknowledge a hit when I hear one and there’s a great chance for a song like this that hits that stroke of modern-day relevance with such a ‘now’ sound…”Death Of Pablo, Pt. II” would make a great choice as a single to put out there and bring people into this record. I suspect after listening to much of the thought-provoking and poetic cuts he’s put onto this record that a lot of the words on this track could be taken as tongue-in-cheek and clever references to what he might think is actually wrong with much of the scene…BUT…there’s also a chance that Joshua just wanted to write a serious club jam to bump too.
Look. Things have already been impressive in the first two cuts – but what Joshua’s created on “Saturday At Findlay Park, Pt. III” is a straight-up masterpiece and an extraordinary highlight early on in the lineup of Your Time Is Coming Soon… The entire vibe of this cut has that hazy, dreamy, surreal sound that feels like the audio-equivalent of sinking right into the couch cushions as deep as they’ll go. The honest approach that Joshua takes to the mic is nothing short of captivating here – whether it’s the nearly spoken-word thoughts being spit from the top of his dome or the remarkable technique that he sings with in the most heartfelt emotional moments of “Saturday At Findlay Park, Pt. III” – it all sounds stunning. The kind of vibe strong enough to float you out of your own thoughts into the hypnotic and meditative sounds that Joshua has created…it’s almost like an out of body experience where you get to see the world, life, & love, and understand what it would be like to see it all from Joshua’s perspective. Brilliant flow and extremely versatile performance; lyrically it’s as sharp as the precision of his rhymes is – “Saturday At Findlay Park, Pt. III” has a magnificently melancholy & chill vibe that hangs in the air. As many times as I listened to this record…and believe me, I squeezed in a TON of listens even with as much as I always have on my playlists to listen to – EVERY time this song came on, it stood out in the most fascinating of ways…you can’t take your ears off a performance like this – Joshua dazzles here.
Smartly blending nature sounds and a ukulele riff in a minimalist setting, the jazzy performance that Joshua puts into the opening hooks of “I-26 (Lull), Pt. IV” are totally enticing to listen to. Once he starts to hit the bars, the flow never lets up – this emcee can string words together as impressively as it gets and his ability to transition between the parts where he raps & the hooks that he sings is seamless every time. Guy reminds me a lot of Mick Jenkins with the diversity in his material and subjects he writes about…there’s a real admirable pursuit in search of creating fresh experiences…my ears appreciate that; he’s an entertainer that’s willing to take a ton of chances and puts himself out there confidently, no matter the situation – energy & passion like that translate. It certainly does in the stripped-down sound and charming music that “I-26 (Lull), Pt. IV” has…combined with the bright melody & sweetened flow Joshua puts into this track…it might be short, but it serves the album greatly as it drifts into “Cold Sun”
The man puts great imagery into his words in ways that really take you somewhere in your mind as you listen – “Cold Sun, Pt. V” is a solid example of that. Rhythmically smooth in the hooks, the attention to detail in his lyricism brings the imagery to a crystal clarity in your thoughts where you can see it all clearly…you gotta hand it to Joshua for his ability to really create these bold atmospheres that stand out so significantly and how that all-encompassing approach from concept to execution really has the focus required to bring these thoughts, rhymes, beats, & bars to life so vibrantly. He keeps this cut loose when it comes to the swagger on the mic in the verse, tightening up the rhythm as it plays on, until once again you find yourself right in the middle of hooks surrounding you from the lefts to the rights. The low-end infusion complements the brighter sounds floating on the surface perfectly, and as always, Joshua seems to be able to find multiple ways to approach the mic within the confines of ONE track. Kind of makes you wonder about those other emcees out there that only have the one gear, rhythm, cadence, & flow that they take to every set of bars don’t it? Why would you do that when you could do THIS – the experimental & curious nature of Joshua’s music takes him into incredible environments like “Cold Sun, Pt. V” where he can really showcase the power of expression and his connection to the entire vibe in general. By virtue of finding so many different styles & sounds, he essentially forces himself creatively to rise to the occasion and write something that almost has no choice but to become unique by default. Whatever the strategy is, it’s workin’ homies.
Leaving “Cold Sun, Pt. V” behind in favor of the warm & inviting hooks and sensual sounds of the vibes on “Hitachi Seaside, Pt. VI” – I can hear plenty of reasons as to why people would connect with the smoothness of this cut. A few moments where you can hear Joshua racing a bit to fit in all the words into the bars…he does this in a few spots throughout the record, but he always manages to get there in the end; couple close calls, but he makes it technically. Best advice I can give the man going forward is that he knows exactly what those lines are when they pop up in the recording sessions; if it feels awkward to the meter in a way that you continually notice, dropping a word or two can sometime make all the difference in the world. That being said…it’s really not a dramatic factor in listening or how we hear these tunes…Joshua’s on-point 99.9% of the time and that’s certainly the case once again on “Hitachi Seaside, Pt. VI” – like I said, he’ll know the lines I’m talking about and he knows the solution. For the most part, this cut has a genuinely smooth sound that glides along on a cushion of air while Joshua proves he’s a lover, not a fighter when it comes right down to it. Ladies take notice.
Much like the effect that “Saturday At Findlay Park, Pt. III” has, the up-close, intimate and personal approach he takes to “Chateau, Pt. VII” is incredibly enticing to listen to. Something about the most natural & low-key performances that Joshua gives really seem to come out as some of the strongest moments that you’ll find on Your Time Is Coming Soon… – I don’t know really WHAT that says about him exactly, but to me, that says SOMETHING extremely cool is happening here. You pay attention to the wildest & flashiest hooks he creates without question…that’s almost a default reaction – but the level of attention you end up giving tunes like “Chateau, Pt. VII” is like hanging onto every single word and note you hear. The longest song on the record, “Chateau, Part VII” is another audible triumph; Joshua takes many chances with the production and finds extremely rad textures to thread into the off-kilter melody and really make this gentle moment pop & stand out. Almost like an old-school wind-up Jack-In-The-Box that has been sitting out in the sun and half-melted as the music still tries to play by the end – I can’t even express how many artists out there would make the mistake of smoothing a song like this out too much; Joshua plays this entirely correct by keeping the organic nature of the sounds he selects intact. The opening hooks of “Chateau, Pt. VII” and first thirty seconds might very well be one of my favorite moments on the entire record…it’s such an isolated and special sound…beautiful really. The free-flowing thoughts that come in afterwards were a perfect complement to the unique vibe of the music & the nearly whispered hooks to follow continually draw us in even further into the depths of this tune. I loved moments like around the 2:40 mark where the music seemed to completely absorb Joshua’s vocals right into the mix, setting up a bizarre but effective breakdown that comes in mid-song to switch it up for a moment. Joshua comes back into the most inspired part of the writing & melody so far, delivering a thought provoking vocal hook that runs throughout the next minute or so before deconstructing itself and spreading out into the atmosphere via layers & effects…again, freakin’ brilliant. The haunting vocals that creep in at the very end of this tune alone are worth the price of admission.
“True Hunger (Lull), Pt. VIII” is one of the two cuts on this record that are just over two-minutes in length, highlighting Joshua’s ability to entertain within a shorter timeframe is just as strong as his long game y’all. It really all comes down to delivery when it comes to his music…I mean, he’s choosing fantastic beats no doubt…truly highly innovative & inventive stuff…and his words are great – but it’s really all about HOW this guy is so remarkably flexible and successful in such a wide variety of styles, energies, and tones on the m-i-c. That melted tape in the sun effect is once again on display here in “True Hunger (Lull), Pt. VIII” – and honestly, I’m seriously curious as to what other people will end up thinking about that. No doubt there’s gonna be a few people that don’t get it I guess – but for me, this works so brilliantly in pulling me in to listen it’s absolutely no joke; it ain’t a gimmick when you use it to your advantage like this…Joshua isn’t just using it for a moment or two, it’s the centerpiece of the melody. You see what I’m sayin’ people? This man don’t shy away from going after something completely wild that we’ve never heard before…and as subtle & chill, dreamy or hazy as the results may be and quite often are on cuts like “True Hunger (Lull), Pt. VIII” – he’s still going at each concept with full-on commitment you can truly hear. LOVED the way the vocals trail out at the end of this song.
“Mt. Hiba, Pt. XI” would probably be a great choice for a single from this record. While it still works that thought-provoking, slow tempo & somewhat minimalist style – the hooks on this cut are definitely ones strong enough to pull people in quickly. The metering of the main flow in the verses of “Mt. Hiba, Part XI” come out perfectly…the chorus is pretty much the icing on the cake as far as this track is concerned. Not only is the flow serious perfection in its pace, tempo & metering – the call & answer effect of switching it up every couple lines or so with a different effect on the vocals coming through a different angle of your speakers is just smart business right there is what that is. It gives your brain that extra incentive to really listen to how the words & rhythm of this track interact; smart social commentary runs deep while the piano-led melody in the music keeps a serene sound running through the entire vibe. Even in the softest sounds or most subtle environments – LISTEN to how the art of the wordsmith comes straight up to the surface in the way that Joshua can rap with such professionally controlled intensity. He’s more than ready to go when it comes to the mainstream – he’s completely ready to lead the way.
From how “Mt. Hiba, Pt. XI” ends so spectacularly in its deconstructed finale, the big drum sounds and percussion in the beat of “Lament, Pt. X” stand out in all the right ways and make an immediate impact. By the time this track hits the first minute mark and the bass-lines come in kickin’ – you’re pretty much gonna lose what’s left of your mind if you haven’t already lost it in listening to this record already. Again – the nearly ridiculous level of ambition and maturity of Joshua in the choices he makes indicates an all-star in the making…the conscious choice creating music so intentionally bendy & bizarre is creative terrain that most artists wouldn’t even dare to work with – and LISTEN to how AMAZING it sounds! Dude is straight-up on another planet of confidence to tackle sounds like he’s using in his material, and time after time, he’s coming out with songs that are intensely fresh and powerful, on-point experiences. This is what victory sounds like dear readers, dear friends. Those off-kilter, bendy notes come through as clear as can be from the guitars…again, I think the effect of this on every track this kind of sound has appeared on has been wildly successfully. When the beat & bass-lines of “Lament, Pt. X” kick-in, it pretty much becomes impossible for this track to become any cooler than it already is; one of the few tracks on this record where I felt like the balance tipped more in favor of the music than the mic. Ain’t nothing wrong with that…the music on this whole record would have stood out as genius already; it’s only the fact that Joshua continually brings it so competently & confidently to the mic that we might not notice just how much the music contributes initially – make no mistake, he’s working OT on both fronts.
And not to rain on the man’s parade…because I still think “Death Of Lucy, Pt. XI” is a solid track…BUT…I might have cut it when it came to the finalized lineup. I think Joshua has put in the work and made magic on this entire record and I dig the ethereal atmosphere in the vibe of this final tune…but I’ll admit that it wanders a bit more freely than any of the tracks you’ve experienced prior. Ultimately, it’s a great platform for him to express some final thoughts to us in a spare environment that allows for that clarity to get the words across…but in context of the whole record, just felt like maybe one step too far perhaps. The skill is still there, the commitment and conviction of his tone in his words is still audible – it just feels like maybe after the wild rhythm of “Lament, Pt. X” beforehand that this final departure had no real place to go or anything else it could really add to what’s already been an incredible experience along the way. It serves well to bring us down and let us exit the album on a reflective & thought-provoking song…but at the same time, leaving us on “Lament, Pt. X” might have had Joshua going out on a memorable high note as well. Like the old saying goes…it’s better to burn out than to fade away; as much as I might dig the chill vibe of “Death Of Lucy, Pt. XI” – I can recognize that Joshua might have better served the record by finishing it off on his upbeat uniqueness than dissipate slowly at the end.
Like I said at the beginning – still room to grow in a few spots, but hey, SHOULDN’T he? What would happen if the dude had no room to evolve his music, style, & sound any further – what would be the motivation to continue? Right now Joshua is already so close to success with his DEBUT record…once this gets out there to the people all over the globe and with a couple more years under his belt – believe me, this guy could easily become a household name. I’m beyond stoked on what I’ve heard on Your Time Is Coming Soon… – but nevermind about US – from the sounds of this record, it’s HIS time that’s come, right here, right now – Joshua completely has what it takes to shift the entire music-scene.
If you didn’t click it up top already – listen to Joshua’s debut record Your Time Is Coming Soon… at Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/1NtcZtXCkR8yDhuR7Gt92u
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