Joshua Lane is a 22 year old artist out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Lane is a man on a mission, as he explains: “I’m focusing on making my own kind of music in hip hop that has consistent, in depth knowledge about what’s going in my life as well as everyone else’s reality as well. I moved to D.C. to promote and network for the past 8 months. I want to use my platform to give back to ones in need and help our communities out so there’s less hostility and more love in the world.” To put on a Joshua Lane record is to commit to a certain amount of intense collective energy. Anything much more than that—left-field lyricism, hooks that sink their claws into you, a collection of beats that cohere into some loose future-is-now synthesis of hip-hop—is a bonus, if an expected one.
“Woke & Rambling” takes everything that is great about hip-hop and makes a shining example of it. The beats are tight and fresh; the lyrics, as expected, are deep and creative, and just off kilter enough to give it that alternative signature. It also takes everything that is less than desirable about hip hop and manages to make these topics and conventions exciting, too.
Different genres affect me in various ways. A solid Metal album can make me feel like I should be a Viking, a great Indie Rock album can make me want to bob my head to the self-produced goodness, and a gorgeous Post-Rock album can conjure up images of incredible landscapes. Hip-Hop is simply refreshing. A
great Hip-Hop album is like drinking a perfectly-cooled glass of water after a day of being thirsty. “Woke & Rambling” is that glass of water.
Apart from blowing everybody for being innovative, mind-blowing, and just goddamn refreshing, the jazz and soul influences in the production come out at the right times. The lyrics are introspective and intelligent, but not too much to digest such that it’s only an album for specific moods.
It’s got a strong underground feel without seeming like some crappy mixtape slapped together with equipment from the 70’s. This album goes great as something to listen to in those moments of introspection. The songs can be listened to as standalone tracks, but the overall feel of the album from beginning to end is just as good.
On “Woke & Rambling”, Joshua Lane has created undoubtedly an immediately catchy work, with some memorable choruses and insightful wordplay that is easily a career high for this artist. Joshua Lane redefines himself as a very certain type of artist. For the most part, his lyrics, ideas, and themes feel very insider and close to his heart, which is what makes him standout.
What does Joshua Lane hope to accomplish with “Woke & Rambling”? This isn’t a rhetorical question or an attempt to chide: I’d like, sincerely, to know what it is he was seeking when he began cobbling this album together and how that goal might have changed in the recording process.
To the average Joe, the closest one comes to being as cool as a Hip-Hop artist is by turning up the beats, cranking the windows way down in a pumped up car, while rolling down Main St. The new album, by Joshua Lane is not only deserving of cruising glory – but should be high on the list of any Hip-Hop connoisseur.
From track one, “Dear Hiphop” and other outstanding tracks such as “Relapse”, “Journal”, “Rambling”, “One World” and “Are We Alive” effectively create a complex, layered symphony of sounds, melodies and dynamics which leaves the listener in a pure state of Hip-Hop satisfaction.
Joshua Lane exhibits an astounding sense of timing, never allowing the listener to grow tired or disinterested, but rather continually chasing the next high until the song reaches its conclusion.