Friday, March 16, 2012

Json: Growing Pains Review

Growing Pains is Christian hip-hop artist Json’s fourth studio album, but it’s obvious that his music, ministry, and lyrics have grown in the process. Through this seventeen track album, Json speaks of how the hard times in life grow us closer to God, and those “growing pains,” no matter how much they hurt, are all worth it for that reason.

The haunting intro begins this message immediately, with the powerful rhetoric: “Suffering truly has a purpose/ we’ll grow!” It also openly admits that we need God’s help, but we can get through all suffering and pain through His strength. “Making Me Over” follows, featuring brass instruments, as it speaks of being clay in the Potter’s hands and how He is making us into something new. The lyrics of this track are simply fantastic.

“2 Human” features hip-hop veteran Lecrae, and uses modern terms such as Facebook and Twitter making it very relatable. As for its message, the listeners are encouraged to know that we all fail, but we can get back up again with God’s help. I personally really enjoyed this aspect, as I’ve heard too many songs that speak of our tendency to fail, but don’t offer any help to those dealing with this.

On Growing Pains, there are three interludes titled “GP,” or Growing Pains for short. In each of these three two-minute interludes, Json shares a story of a time or times when God helped him grow. In the first one, he speaks of marriage as something that produces character and helps him to depend on something greater – Jesus Christ. These interludes are very encouraging, but not bland musically, because although Json is talking and not rapping, there is mild hip-hop backing in each.

Butta from Rhema Soul appears in “Held It Down,” a sobering track that addresses how Christians often state that they trust in God, but all God sees us doing is worrying about the future. Following, Mike Grayson from MIKESCHAIR follows in “It’s Alright,” and his vocals were very refreshing to hear on this album.

The entire album as a whole focuses on growing, whether it be through pain and suffering or through getting up and making a change in the world. The latter is apparent through “Secrets,” the intro and actual track, which share awful stats of people who have been abused or trafficked, and how many people refuse to do anything about it, and act like nothing is wrong.

In “Behind the Clouds,” there is a nice piano backing, as there is encouragement to continue shining behind the clouds. When God prunes us, it hurts, but it makes us look even more like him, as Json shares powerfully through this track. “Goodbye” closes the album rather mellow, with an electronic tempo. Json shares his testimony of how hard it was for him to move from his home in St. Louis, but because He was fulfilling God’s calling, the insecurity of moving was worth it.

Growing Pains has a powerful message of choosing the pain, hurt, suffering, trials, calling of God, or whatever uncomfortable risks it may take to come closer to God and become more like Him. The message of this album is very relatable, and there are many catchy tunes as well!

Rating: 4/5
Release date: February 21, 2012

Track listing:
1. Growing Pains Intro
2. Making Me Over (feat. AD3 & Tedashii)
3. 2 Human (feat. Lecrae)
4. GP (Interlude 1)
5. Held It Down (feat. Butta-P and Ron Kenoly Jr.)
6. It’s Alright (feat. Mike Grayson of Mikeschair)
7. I The Beast
8. Brand New (feat. God’s Servant and Steve-T)
9. GP (Interlude 2)
10. My Joy (feat. Jai)
11. Behind The Clouds (feat. Chris Lee)
12. We Not Folding (feat. Trubble & Blacknight)
13. Secrets Intro
14. Secrets (feat. J.R.)
15. Credits Roll (feat. Benjah)
16. GP (Interlude 3)
17. Goodbye


  1. On Track 11, I believe the featured artist's name is "Chris" Lee, not "Christ." ;)

  2. Yes... yes, that would be correct. ;) Thank you!


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