From the opening track “East Penn,” I knew I was in for a unique listening experience coming from Atlanta’s own CJ Francis IV. The track sits at just a minute and 20 seconds, but he finds a way to change the sound on us midway through the song without missing a beat. Songs From My Living Room definitely has a home feel to it, and Francis’ emphasis on letting us into his mind furthers that hospitable environment. It’s also a slight flex, as he quite literally records, producers and engineers in his studio apartment. A grind many artists can relate to.
Two of the 13 songs exceed three minutes, but otherwise, it’s a collection of one to two-minute cuts. Brevity surely doesn’t come at the expense of quality but rather conveys the sense that this project was very personal. He wasn’t looking to create some blockbuster, commercial project. Instead, he’s feeding his core with something special and real.
“Yea I Know” is a hood love song, where he’s telling shawty he knows everything she wants from him and as complicated as it may be, he’s trying to improve. His autotuned vocals evoke true emotion, along with his assertions she’s the one. A switch from the previous two tracks being more traditional rap songs, but yet evidence of his desire to be multi-faceted.
“Good U” aligns with this theme, reflecting on a love interest and but also college life and his identity. He expresses uncertainty in his path, but he’s aware enough to have that conversation with himself. He wants to find the good within himself and bring it out. It’s just a matter of how.
“Brothers” features one of the biggest names in 2015 Hip Hop. Quentin Miller. Miller has, of course, continued his career after the drama involving Drake and Meek Mill, and seeing how he and CJ bounce back and forth on this track was impressive. It’s a mid-tempo rider, saluting brotherhood and where it’s gotten them.
Though CJ does a lot on his own clearly, he’s surely making waves in music behind the scenes. Closely associated with Quentin Miller, he’s expanding his songwriting and producing game, having earned some credits for Jeremih and Yo Gotti. He’s a hard-worker, and certainly one of the best places to make a career pop off even further. Surely being self-sufficient as an artist helps, but it’s the connection to his music and fans that can really take him far.
Stream Songs From My Living Room below. It’s worth it.