JGivens “El v. Envy” (album review)

Indie (August 6, 2013)
Review by Stephen Maddox

If you don’t know about this dude J Givens yet… You will. It’s been a long time coming, but after plenty of free downloads, and collabos, we are blessed with a full length project from Las Vegas, Nevada’s Bearded Boy Wonder. With a lethal flow, and just a dash of twang in his voice J is able to make quick work over a variety of styled beats on this project, and do it well.

The album begins with (a)bridge(d) thoughts – a dive straight into the dark side of his town Las Vegas. the side you don’t see in the tourism ads or billboards. We are then welcomed by “Bienvenue”- where he continues his trip into Las Vegas culture over a mellowed out beat with a slowed down flow. Definitely one of my favorites on the album. Other standout tracks in my opinion on the album include Help Me Obi Wan Kanobi, Polar Express, The Huxtables (featuring John Givez and DJ Aktual), Stop Requested, the posse cut Stay Cool,–Aw forget it—Too many dope tracks on this album to name. They are almost all worth heavy rotation

My favorite track remains,the one I heard first- Can’t Say- A glimpse into Christian life in Egypt from an American perspective. A humbling account, which should give us all pause when we look to complain. On the artistic tip this song is just beautiful, the lyrics and vocal effects perfectly tuned along with the use of empty space. Sometimes less is more. For a young artist, he shows some deft skill with this arrangement. Ultimately, this album is a perfect example of how important it is for evangelistic minded artists to also be excellent in their artistry. The album can be played for your grandma, lil brother, or your friends and all will enjoy it. Usually, albums of this length (17 tracks) have at least 3-4 filler tracks which should have been cut out. I can’t think of one on this LP. I’m looking forward to more work from this young brother and his camp out there in the hot Nevada desert. A definite must have for any serious hip hop fan.


  1. Great to see someone out there in Vegas, being a light in the dark. I’ve been there before, and trust me, it is DARK!

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