On March 24th, 2017 Riverdale, MD Hip-Hop artist J. Tek (@j.tek) teamed with prominent producer DJ Pain 1 (@DJPain1) to drop a soulful, introspective EP titled 'Lost.' HypeCity received the album ahead of its release and we've been sitting with it, digesting its content ever since. After thoroughly listening many times over, we have a synopsis of what you'll find on the Maryland emcee's latest project.
On "Find Myself" J. Tek recounts the stresses and pitfalls inherent in the process of "trying to find myself," in life and in music. He opens the record by drawing a line in the sand "You either with me or against me, I don't fuck with between" and proceeds to relate the ups and downs associated with believing in himself and going his own way. J Tek explains just how deeply that belief goes with some clever metaphors, one of which cleverly alluding to a Michael Jordan comparison "At 23 I'm gonna be in my prime...by 45 I'll have 6 of those rings." It's this belief that helps him maintain a sharp focus on finding a place for himself beyond the limitations of his surroundings, a central theme throughout the project.
J. Tek opens "Ghetto Birds" by noting the lack of self esteem typical to empoverished areas like where he grew up with the line "ghetto birds in the hood, they tell us we can't fly" Despite the negative influence of his surroundings, J. Tek maintains hope and encourages to do so as well, urging us to "hold on to your dreams and don't you ever give up."
On "Rant" J Tek takes the gloves off to leave no doubt regarding his lyrical ability, while dropping some metaphorical gems. J. Tek uses his experience and wisdom gained from the streets of Riverdale to make observations like "the weakest nigga in the room is always doing the most." The record is driven by hard-hitting lyrics and a Tupac sample urging a the necessity of revolutionary thought and action, while the DJ pain one scratches that "J. Tek is up next."
This is a record "for all the people soul searching." Soul Searchin features Doja who laces the record with jazzy vocals, while J Tek weaves a tale of a girl named jasmine, and a guy named Quincy, neither of whom grew up with a father. Jasmine ends up running the streets searching for someone to fill the void of the father she never had, and ends up with a "scrub" whom she actually calls "Daddy," but who eventually abuses her. She eventually turns to drugs to cope. Quincy also grew up without his father. This had a major impact on him, "He ran out of belief" and now relies on liquor to cope and carries a .45 caliber pistol. One Day Quincy looks in the mirror seeing that he has grown to look like his father, and wonders how missing him has affected his life.
J Tek tells a tale about his "city limits" Riverdale, Maryland. He relates stories typical to where he's from: drug abuse, the fast life complete with beautiful women, flashy cars, guns, crime, and murder. It's a rough area where only the gifted "take an L, then prevail" J Tek resolves that though he city is tough, he is able to adapt and make a way for himself, stating that "I'm not trapped inside my city limits, I'm more than just a block boy."
On the EP's titular record J .Tek compares being stuck in his ways to being "Lost" at sea on a remote island, disconnected from the rest of the world. The record features a sample of Jay-Z's line "I never change I'm too stuck in my ways" as J. Tek examines the dual effect of being so dedicated to his dream. To close out the EP J. Tek reminds us of the natural balance of things that help him motivate him to rise from the darkness, that for every negative there's a positive, and if you "take out the rain and the grass won't grow, take out the dark and your shine won't glow."
Be sure to grab 'Lost' on iTunes and Apple Music and keep an eye out for J. Tek's next move following this latest release.