Razor Tongue Media

John L. Declares It's
Better Now Than Never

On cover of John L. "Better Now Than Never" album, the rapper/producer is seen standing against a building with a cap pulled down over his face.

With daylight savings just hitting, weather making a turn for the better, and a vaccine date on the horizon, my outlook on life has been a lot better than it has for the last, oh, year or so. I haven’t had a lot of time for much of anything lately, new duties at work, a move, and everything else in life. Unfortunately, ‘much of anything’ includes new music! But, with my S.A.D on its way out the door and my daylight lamp going back into storage, I was introduced to the John L. project Better Now Than Never. Let me just say that this album is exactly what I need RIGHT NOW.

Tri-Cities area rapper John L.’s album is full of W’s all the way through. With solid features from Mr. Serv-On (of No Limit Records fame) to Layzie Bone (yes, THAT Layzie Bone) and great retro production from John L. himself, BNTN perfectly compliments the ‘ah yes, I’m ready to rejoin regular life now’ feelings I’ve been having.

And, speaking of getting back to regular life, a highlight track for me here is definitely “It’s a Party” with features from Ralphy Ray and Skrillz. One of my favorite sub-genres of hip-hop is Songs About Partying. A little niche, perhaps, but that list is filled with classics like “Bassment Party”, “I Love College”, and “Bartender”. John L. joins that hallowed hall with this track as I add it to my ‘If I Actually Ever Get Passed the AUX’ playlist.

Right after “It’s a Party”, John L. takes us into a classic 90s babymaker-inspired track. Normally, this kind of shift would result in tonal whiplash. However, John L. manages to avoid that by somehow making the transition feel natural, in part to another great feature from Skrillz. Though, part of me wonders if the easy transition is because this is simply a continuation of the events after the aforementioned party…

The rest of the album is just as great of course. Layzie Bone’s feature was a nice treat here and provided a solid verse to “Forget the Day” The song pays homage to the Doobie Brothers classic “Drift Away”, cleverly changing the lyrics to ‘gimme a few shots, and some of that dro, I wanna get last in a cloud of smoke to forget the day.’ John L.’s production is full of throwbacks like that, including sampling “Strawberry Letter 23″on the track “Fade Away”

Overall, John L. has presented a tightly produced, well-written project with bangin’ features. I hadn’t heard of John L before, but BNTN will be forever remembered as The Album That I Got Really Into Right As Everything Was Becoming Normal Again.

And if that isn’t high praise, I don’t know what is.

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