Lillie B. Evans
"Now Showing" is the unique premiere venture of producer, songwriter, and rapper, MJ. Not hard-hitting or profane, each song carries its own distinct mood and message, which are clearly presented through well-blended tracks and vocals. This CD is a puzzle of sorts. Each piece is independently different, yet together, present the picture of a young man's life. It is a tapestry, woven together with honesty, humor, sensuality, and deep reflection. If there is such a thing as "intelligent rap", this is it. Music that not only presents the thoughts of the performer, but evokes thought in the listener. All without using "bit**" or "nigg**" once to get the point across. Definitely NOT another commercialized repeat, "Now Showing" highlights variety and open, poetic expression. It is "mature", but not offensive.
"Somebody to Love", featuring P. Rowe, an immediate favorite, is tender and heartfelt. By contrast, "Hot" is blatantly sexy and flirtatious. "Wrong Number" calls upon a humorous character to help settle the issues of a misunderstood relationship, and "Stick It" is also a rhythmic favorite. "Came in the Club with a Gun" describes the dramatic encounter with a femme fatale, which flows directly into the melodic, quietly seductive, "Two Step".
THOUGHT is what sets this CD apart. "They say slavery's dead, but they just changed the name..." speaks of the crack and crime rampage destroying the African-American community in MJ's touchingly reflective, "Show Me a Sign". A balanced work of sensitivity and outspokeness, MJ words it best in "Da Truth" as he claims, "I can't give it to you any other way..."
"Now Showing" is the creative product of a positive, well-educated black man who does not and should not apologize for NOT being "gangsta". Instead of having been shot, spent time in jail, or was loosed to the streets, MJ worked hard, made the grade, and was raised by a strong, caring mother. But an EASY life? No. Make no mistake about it. MJ is a gifted writer, producer, and rapper. But his rap is truer to the African roots of using entertainment to help educate and not desecrate. If "Now Showing" is his opening act, audiences can only eagerly await his encore. ~Lillie B. Evans