I can’t decide if it’s purposeful or not, but “To Lament Joy” sounds like two songs smashed together. That’s not a criticism mind you, merely an observation. The way that the bounce and verve of the track’s opening half spills into the meditative ambience of the closing passages feels abrupt and jarring, but that doesn’t mean that feeling of incongruity isn’t purposeful. Thematically speaking, it’s entirely possible that john.AVERAGE and producer Mndsgn mean to first stir up a bit of exultation and delight in order to counter with the lament referenced in the title at the end. If that’s the case, respect.
And even if it isn’t, the ease and vigor of john.AVERAGE’s flow here is something to behold, not to mention his mental agility. He’s the rare rapper who can can casually toss out lines for laughs and then swing back with something deep or introspective. In the course of a few bars he skips from rapping about “lucky socks” and a “money pair of Crocs” to dropping jewels about quantum singularity, all while gliding smoothly across Mndsgn’s neck-snapping funk. From paying tribute to Bankroll Fresh to just plain putting in work, john.AVERAGE is having a helluva year, and it’s about time ATL took notice.
john.AVERAGE performs tonight at 529 alongside Busdriver, Zeroh, 10th Letter, Dot, and DJ Nervex. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $10. 21+ to enter.