Jahah - Mama's Only Son      
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written by Christopher Scav Yuscavage    
Some people fail to recognize good music if it slaps them in the face. Be prepared. An array of jabs, punches, and combos are headed to those peoples' faces in the name of "Mama's Only Son."

Calling Atlanta native Jahah "just" a singer, rapper, or producer is sort of like calling Barry White just another R&B crooner, LL Cool J just another freestyle dropper, or DJ Premier just another, well, DJ. Jahah and his "jack of all trades" mentality is a step above being called anything except "just" good music. While his ability to command all elements of a record is, within itself, impressive enough, Jahah's music is a flash-back to the days of rhythm-and-blues when a single sound could signify an entire emotion or an artist could say nothing at all and yet pack so much feeling into just a few seconds. "Mama's Only Son," the second album from the multi-tasking Jahah catapults him amongst a rare breed of musicians, those that not only perform the music beautifully but also hold an obvious place within themselves for the music and its meaning.

Though he doubles as an emcee-slash-singer on the microphone, "Mama's Only Son" rarely sees Jahah kicking rhymes, as only the bass-thumping "Afrodeziac," the heartfelt tribute to his mother, "It's for You," "Shinin' Star," and "No Time To Front" exhibit Jahah's rhyming ability. While his skills on the emcee end of things are more than above-average (think a young Mos Def or Kweli), Jahah truly shines on the singing aspect of "Mama's Only Son," as his melting voice permeates through his old-school feeling production efforts.

The neo-soul in Jahah emerges through "Tonight" and "Everybody Up," two extremely fresh and soulful nightlife tracks that bring forth powerful vocals minus the sexually charged agendas of most modern-day singers. Every word lingers into the next creating a powerful continuous union of melodies that account for a certain carefree and feel-good emotion. "Saturday," with its similar club-themed effort sounds Jackson 5-ish in nature and includes an adequate verse from fellow BeeZee70 Productions rapper Mr. Moody, which sounds right in place amongst the party.

Jahah's true passion, however, seems to be within the world of love, one that he vividly describes without saying much at all. The instant classic, "Oohh," does what most other soul and R&B tracks fail to do. Jahah manages to wrap the first moment of love, the first moment of unexplainable attachment to someone with the sound "oohh." In an almost magical display, Jahah will give most young fans a glimpse into the days of early R&B when the emotions were what mattered and shined through the words. Older fans will also appreciate his penchant for the appeal of emotions, especially those dealing with love.

While love is safe, Jahah does not leave the pain of heartbreak out of the mix either, as "Gone," a piano-laced tale of leaving a relationship, drags into the depths of angst involved with such a situation without the assistance of a really depressing beat. The tremble in Jahah's voice and the seriousness of his tone spell out enough for listeners to catch on to the mood of "Gone."

While R&B has tended to side more with sex appeal in recent years and neo-soul has been set aside for the oddly-perceived Erykah Badu's and Raphael Saadiq's of the singing world, Jahah's "Mama's Only Son" establishes a happy medium amongst the two. The emotion and flavor with which Jahah delivers his music is outstanding in this day and age of singers being asked to serenade tracks to continue a mood rather than create their own. Some people do fail to recognize good music even if it slaps them in the face. Fortunately for them, Jahah's music will reach anyone with a set of ears and a set of emotions. It's "just" that good.

- Christopher Scav Yuscavage

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