Review by Lance Jackson Jr.
“Met a girl who said I looked taller online, I said yeah and I thought you looked cuter.” -AxJ, “On The Road”
Realness. Perspective. Cunning. Wit. What do these four words have in common? They’re all held characteristics of AxJ and his tape 14 Hours. Reigning from Indianapolis, AxJ takes us on a sonic road trip with his friends; from somewhere small yet fun to somewhere else that’s grand and introspective. With that being said, it takes us on a road trip that’s a little restricted and restrained compared to sonic world tours, but for now, I’ll focus on the many positives that is 14 Hours.
This trip starts off large and holy with the Tracie Cieara assisted title track, “14 Hours”. Here we’re introduced to the hungry AxJ who has full control of the wheel throughout the tape. Solid bars are neatly delivered across tracks in many different emotions. The one thing that AxJ does well is control his emotion and delivery. The bars aren’t necessarily top of the totem, but they definitely are delivered as such. The great thing about this ride is that the scenery changes drastically but cohesively; an example would be “Bring it Back” featuring Grey (who has an amazing verse) and “Roll Bounce”. The seriously smooth “discover yourself” vibe of “Bring it Back” skates into the fun and smoother “Roll Bounce”. Transition in a project is everything and AxJ has that and some funny goofball skits!
“Cocky as can be I think I’m perfect.” -A.P., “6 Points”
If you’re looking for realness and want to bump at the same time, this project has both waiting for you. “6 Points” is braggadocios while “And 1” will have your speakers rumbling. “Whatever You Do” will have you thinking with your fist under your chin. The overall instrumentation of the tape is versatile; you’ll hear a dope sax every now and then and also hear AxJ and his features glide across them. There’s a chantable hook on almost every track and a feature here and there that will have you Google searching for that appearing artist’s catalogue. Unfortunately though with every good, there’s usually it’s opposite.
AxJ gives us something great but nothing wildly unique. We’ve all heard the “chase your dream no matter what” raps and the “I’m the man” raps on these type of instrumentals in the past. Not saying that’s all you’ll get from this trip, but there’s a lot of it here. It’s like we’re traveling to new cities that look like cities we’ve been to before; granted they still look nice.
Bottomline, if you’re looking for a dope hip hop project, you’re here. For what it is, it’s more than enough to please a rap enthusiast’s ears. AxJ has both hands on the wheel, and I’ll be excited to see where he takes us next.