One of the more silent and reserved artists on the underground scene has returned with a new EP for your listening pleasure. Live Johnson has taken off his producer and graphic designer hats and has readjusted his artist hat with The Come Back EP". As much as I would like to have heard a full-length project from him I do understand the marketing and purpose for a smaller project as opposed to a lengthy one. With the advancement of technology, music has become more accessible to produce as well as consume so with that being said we have had an influx in artists releasing projects both commercial and underground. With that much content at our disposal, the attention span becomes drastically shorter due to the fact that you're trying so hard to listen to it all. Nowadays you have more artist dropping EP's than LP's. So with that being the case, it makes perfect sense that this project has only 5 songs as opposed to his #OneManBand project which had 13 tracks. The five tracks that he has given us are fire so for the next 20 minutes or so you will be thoroughly entertained so let's begin breaking down "The Come Back".
Intro's are very important because it sets the tone of the entire project. With that being said Live opens up the EP with a blast from the past as he takes the infamous prayer that Samuel L. Jacksons character (Jules Winnfield) says in the beginning of the iconic "Pulp Fiction" movie. The prayer comes from the book of Ezekiel chapter 25 verse 17.
"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will Shepard's the weak through the valley of darkness for he is truly his brothers keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. AND YOU WILL KNOW MY NAME IS THE LORD WHEN I LAY MY VENGENCE UPON THEE." I still get goosebumps when I reminisce about that scene. With such a commanding movie snippet the lyrics have to have a major punch and deliberate Aire to it which Live does accomplish quite well. Out the gate Live talks about putting contracts on peoples heads and having a license to kill so its safe to say he's not holding anyone's hands on this one. There's a punchline where he references the pictures that he paints would have you thinking that he rolls with Sony. Now this was a smooth line but what I want to point out is the line that follows it because its so subtle I missed it the first time around and it wasn't until I was trying to document the first line that I realized what was said. At 0:47 Live says "These other rappers wind blowing but I'm fan worthy." The play on words here was so quietly inserted that you might've missed it. Moving on Live continues to hit you with raw punches but its the intermission in the track that takes you off guard and further proves that he's really not playing any games here. We have another movie reference in the form of John Wick where he is speaking to Viggo Tarasov (played by Michael Nyqvist) and telling him that a lot of people keep asking him if he is back and now with the death of his beloved dog that was given to him by his late wife he is sure that is in fact back and threatens him to give up the name of his son or die screaming along side him. I think the track packs a better punch if you actually watch these movies so you can get the full picture but by itself the track and lyrics are hard.
"Come Back" has a laid back west coast type of feel to it while also incorporating old school funk similar to George Clinton.. So far I am noticing that this project is more theatrical than his previous bodies of work. Reason why I say this is the Martin Scorsese line in the first line and then the way Live leads into the hook towards the end as if he's the host for the nights festivities. The gangsters, hustlers, culture and sisters all agree that they need Live Johnson to come back. "Above My Head" instantly reminded me of Biggys "Sky's The Limit". In this song you hear the content and comfort zone that Live is in as he leisurely gives you something to vibe out to. In this song you hear Live talking about how he has his hunger back for this music business and the differences between other artist and him by giving the example of how they go back and forth too much on social media and how he is more so concerned with getting money.
"Luxury Tax" features Michael Bostic and Jemyle Jones. This is your more sophisticated and bougie type of record as the three of them stunt on the rest of their competition but in a fiscally responsible way. There's more than one way to stunt and flaunt what you have besides making it rain and getting your wrist flooded. The smarter and better way is to acquire things that appreciate over time as well focusing on credit, stock market and various other money moves our community us hardly ever privy to. In closing we have "That's Life" which has a Sade old school 90s R&B type of feel. On this track Live opens up more so than the other records and admits to certain things in his past both in the industry as well as his own personal life. The battles he's fought and lessons he's learned has shaped him into the man he is now which he is comfortable with. The hook is ever so calming and relaxing so overall the track is a smooth ride to cruise to into the sunset. Overall Live Johnson is back more comfortable in his skin than ever before and when someone who is content within themselves and their decisions nothing can stop them. Check out Live Johnson's The Comeback EP and let us know what you think