The second album release from Cross Movement artist J.R. is a genre-bending set of original songs, showcasing his smooth rhymes and soulful voice. Life By Stereo features guest appearances from some of today's best Christian hip hoppers, including Lecrae, Flame, and Da' TRUTH.
Format: Compact disc Vendor: Cross Movement Records
In the wake of his well-received debut, Metamorphosis, and his stellar production work on recent projects by labelmates Cross Movement, R Swift and Da TRUTH, gifted singer-songwriter JR (nee Courtney D. Peebles) saved the best for his own sophomore release, Life by Stereo. This project is an adventurous, genre-bending leap into territory once exclusive to the likes of urban gospel bad boy Tonex. Without hesitation JR throws down the gauntlet with Intro and Rock Star, boasting risky avant rhythmic and melodic shifts that reflect the influence of innovative heavy hitters like Timbaland, Pharell, and Outkast. Although much of Life by Stereo is musically congruent with Chris Brown or Usher, vocally JR practically channels John Legends new Millennial crooning style. Unfortunately, JR greatest weakness also mirrors Legends early penchant for embarrassingly simple, rhyme-by-numbers lyrical style.
Fortunately, when JRs lyrics turn personal, as in the otherworldly, bossa nova-lite fantasy, Getaway, things turn for the better. For all the lyrical missteps, nothing changes JRs ability to explode musical preconceptions. Of its many high points, Life by Stereo soars highest when JR fluidly shape shifts his love of Coldplay into one of the years most captivating worship anthems We Need You. With this type of versatility and talent, JR might singlehandedly close 2007 as a banner year for Urban Christian music.