J.Lately – “Make. Believe.” album
J.Lately (@justlately) dropped his highly anticipated album, titled Make. Believe., on May 13th. There are 12 songs in total, with production credits to Jansport J, Azure, Ben Rosen, The Blacksmiths, Arze Kareem, and Matcy P. Features come from Grynch, Rayana Jay, TiRon, Clyde Shankle, Dayvid Michael, and Vell Taylor. With all the build-up, in the form of singles, music videos, and a mini video series, it was clear that this album was going to hold so much weight in personal stories and uplifting messages. To give you an idea of the content here, let me talk about a few tracks.
The title track sets the tone with it’s delicate bell and boom bap production that finds J.Lately speaking on making the best of your life and putting belief in yourself and your goals. Simple and straight to the point.
“Half The Night” is never forgetting what your passion in life is, and to do everything in your ability to make your dreams come true. Staying true to self, putting in the effort, having a positive mindset, surrounding yourself with good people, stepping outside of your comfort zone, knocking down doors, and keeping self-doubt to a minimum (“And your heart, just never lose it // Your soul, don’t ever sell that // Your weaknesses used up // Cause no one wants to be average // And everybody once had them // But many forget their passions // So, mine stay on my mind // It’s the only way I will have it // Because your thoughts become actions // And actions become habits // So, I stay awake for half the night // It’s amazing what you could do with just half a life“).
“Here” is a deep track that finds J.Lately talking about family, being lost and stressed trying to find his place in life/music, his earlier days of making music, selling tickets to shows that he was opening, being told to stop making music by a friend, coming from a small town, being judged before given a chance, and more (“I started from my father, now I’m here // Blaow // Talk shit now, just do it farther from my ear“). Despite being steeped in nostalgia and personal history, he also manages to slip in a powerful message of the negative effects that judging has (“See we all just wanna do right // But I bet you done some shit that you never thought you would do, right // So don’t judge it til you’ve done it, little dummy // Without that little budget, you would plummet // Thinking it’s all about the money, ’cause that’s all these folks say // Going broke to get rich, trying to make our own way“).
“Please” features Azure, and the two trade lines about living your life, embracing change, taking chances, focusing on what you want, and not giving up in what you believe in (“Please, don’t lose your heart // It all started with a spark // Sunshine through the dark // Just don’t lose your heart, please“). It’s a fun, honest track with humor (side note: I like that “Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, and Dylan” can still make its way into songs and/or conversation, haha), positive affirmations, something to smile about, and a good beat for you to nod your head to. “Speak my heart; that’s something that I put my life on.”
That’s just a few of them, too. The whole album is dope, so check it out when you get a chance. You can download Make. Believe. for free or pay what you want via Bandcamp. If you purchase it from iTunes and leave a rating, email J.Lately (email@example.com) and he’ll send you a free signed physical copy for your support.
Below, watch a few new music videos that have since been released since the album officially dropped. The first is for “Roses,” which features Grynch and was produced by The Blacksmiths. It was shot in Seattle, Washington, and Oakland, California, which is full of sunshine and pink roses. Directed by Andrew Elsayid for Ineffable Music and Azure of the HBK Gang. Second is for the song “Still,” featuring Azure and Beejus and produced by Arze Kareem. The video was directed by Kolepa Phy, and it takes the listener on a fun and trippy minivan adventure (with VHS-like quality). Lastly, watch the music video for “Destinations,” featuring Rayana Jay and produced by Matcy P. Directed by Andrew Elsayid, and shot during J.Lately‘s recently completed Make Believe tour throughout the West Coast.