Here stands a man openly flawed and encumbered with life’s immeasurable expectations, but he’s also a devoted man of God striving for grace. Joshua Crum – just call him J. Crum – speed-raps his feverish words alongside echoing beats and riffs usually coupled with harder rock styles, and counters the intensity with smooth, lingering hooks. Detroit-born and Omaha-based Crum’s inspirational tracks reflect a man bound to his faith, family and fans but with a grittiness churning through time and measures.
Crum’s newest EP, Flawed, is a seven-track whirlwind of tightly wound introspective jams. Mixed and mastered by Grammy-nominated engineer Rick Carson (Terrace Martin’s Velvet Portraits) and produced by Tory Hooks, the rapper’s expansive palette dabs subtle, diverse influences: Florence + The Machine, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, even Fall Out Boy. Like in his debut release Black Sheep, Crum’s rapid delivery challenges the listener to not only keep pace, but also to be uplifted to a more profound, evocative message.
I felt like I’ve grown a lot artistically between Black Sheep and Flawed,” Crum said. “I tried to find the beauty in one’s own vulnerability. I feel I went even deeper into that vulnerability and communicated in a relatable way.”
In the hyper-focused “Monster,” Crum’s crescendo is in the haunting lyrics juxtaposed by the universality of the sentiment “….or do I turn the other cheek….I guess we’re gonna see.” And, just like that, Crum keeps us guessing in sound, styles and his very foundation.