The work of Chattanooga musician J Flo (AKA Jeremy Lawrence) feels inspired of current events and experiences. There are sorrow and uncertainty laced throughout his songs, the kinds of universal emotions that seep into your bones and offer reflections of the world around you. He’s been on a musical sabbatical of sorts since 2013, but in the past few months, he’s made a conscious decision to work on his music and evolve as both an artist and person. He released an impressive video a few months ago and is now looking to further his brand of incisive musical commentary.
With the release of new EP “2HrLayover,” J Flo has constructed an atmosphere where hard truths, inequality and an open consciousness are explored in exquisite detail. His words form a lyrical collage of pain and frustration while trying to keep the darkness at bay by placing trust in a hesitant hopefulness. The beats slither along your spine while his melodies call your senses to attention. Taking a modernist viewpoint in terms of rap construction, he still manages to call back to the historical hip-hop noise of the ’80s and early ’90s.
Featuring guest spots from Ramaj Eroc, Charlie Woods, Hi$e Cold, Cuatro Cinco and D. Lamar, the record benefits from their collective confidence and the differing insights they respectively bring to the genre. These songs spill over with an abundance of inspiration and creativity, giving each track a unique personality-there’s no staid backtracking, just a forward momentum that carries you along on a turbulent but purposeful current of innovation and inclusion. J Flo and his guests aren’t breaking the mold of hip-hop, but they are rearranging its outlines to create something that feels and sounds abjectly different from the myriad impostors who crowd this beat-driven landscape.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.