Chattanooga hip-hop artist Lo Jak isn’t afraid to dig into the bones and sinews of his beliefs—this broad ideology has been a compass used to guide his music from its infancy. Whether he’s streaking solo through the night or running parallel to some collaborator, he’s constantly looking to express himself in a manner that holds true to his own perspective. Biting one moment and consoling the next, his work leaps from one branch of thematic relevance to the next in the blink of an eye.
As he says on his Facebook profile, “I’m here to paint pictures and bring reality back.” And on his past few releases, that’s exactly what he’s accomplished, with political tracks decrying injustice and corruption, and introspective cuts that stomp with incendiary motives. There’s swagger and style built into his music, which is formed around a series of propulsive emotional releases. He’s not afraid to let the feeling run a bit ragged and expose some personal truths to his listeners—that, after all, is one of the trademarks of a great artist.
On his latest single, an eerie and chilly song called “Blessed,” Lo Jak bounces atop a bed of shimmering synths and low-end beats. His voice circles around bad experiences and false friends, with lines such as, “I use that hatred as a weapon” and “I’m not forgetful, so when I rise up, I will forget you” striking a bold and confident position above those who would try to hold him down. Suitably minimal and directed by AK Films, the accompanying video basically amounts to a performance clip that doesn’t feel superfluous but highlights his electric personality.
Produced by Dope Boi Beatz, the track echoes with an honest vitriol, a fierce declaration of independence and confidence. While the beat never rises to bury his voice or the framing synth work, it does create a solid foundation on which he hangs these sounds, an organized noise that allows him to explore these landscapes quickly and without distraction. “Blessed” is calm when it needs to be and boisterous when the opportunity arises, and it’s here, where these two disparate rhythmic environments collide, that you really understand the details of the raw-nerved musical rebellion that Lo Jak seems so intent on sharing.
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.