For CZAR Josh, his sophomore project has been about more than creating a collection of records.
The Culture Villains emcee had a greater intent than simply making bangers.
On the mixtape LongLiveUs, Josh works through personal discovery in regards to faith, politics, and society. He recently gave FiveTwenty a deeper look into the project and the process of its creation.
“Honestly, it was originally supposed to be a collection of singles,” explains CZAR Josh.
“When you hear the first half of the tape, that’s how it feels. It’s very fast-paced. Very upbeat, sonically. Every track just hits you.”
“How I approach music and art overall is with connectedness in mind. I think in concepts and stories. What do I want the listener to leave with? That eventually took over and caused the tape to morph into something that sounds like a full, cohesive project.”
“The main concept that arose kind of went hand in hand with where my heart was at.”
“Politically and socially, it was tough for me and a lot of my family and friends. As black people, going from 2019 into 2020, it was a lot. I felt like no one cared about us. Especially many (not all) of our non-black counterparts in the Church.”
“I would see [them] make concessions and excuses as to why the taking of life, specifically black ones, was justifiable or okay. We read the same Bible. Life is precious. It motivated me to not go the usual artist trope when it comes to protest music or activist music. Making a song to ‘go against oppression’ or to ‘stand up against racism’, I wanted to take it a step further.”
“We, just like every other shade of human being, were made in the image of God. So not only do black lives matter, they are valuable. They have meaning. They have depth and are complex, multifaceted, and defined. Beautiful; Joyous; Happy; In Love. I wanted to highlight the actual life in that statement. For far too long, the world has defined us by our death.”
“CV is a creative incubator. It’s a safe space for everybody to be authentic to themselves and express themselves.”
“It’s an honest place, as an artist, to go and truly hear what you need to hear and get better. CV helped mold the direction of the tape, how it sounds. The visuals and cover art direction, the order in which you experience the music. It helped to organize and execute all the crazy ideas that come into mind.”
“It’s leaps and bounds ahead of what I’ve put out before.”
“Lyrically, it’s a lot more mature and honest in approach. It’s just real music, from somebody going through stuff.”
“Sonically, it’s crazy! I incorporate a lot of my musical influences from southern hip hop, to rock and metal, and to soul and house. All my favorite types of music are represented here. It feels full and well-rounded. Probably the first time a lot of my supporters will hear a full-figured project from me.”
“I love Do My Thang! That’s my baby. I wrote that entire song front to back, so I’m just proud of that in terms of songwriting.”
“Copacetic, Heights, Whatchu Know, Dime N a Nickel, I love those songs because they kind of sound like, and represent, the shift I’m making sonically in my music. They’re fun songs. I really love the whole project.”
“For the project, all the features were selected off of vibe and if they could fit the template I already had.”
“All of these songs I wrote myself except Regal, so feature-wise, it was whoever made sense and fit the mold.”
“Production-wise, Enzo [Gran], Killawatts, and Avila are all guys I trusted to create this sound I wanted to craft. They were my immediate go-to’s.”
What Comes Next?
“A lot of content related to the project for sure!”
“Song breakdowns, music videos, etc. Then after that, I have even more music in the vault…I’m going to be around for a long time after this!”
What are your favorite tracks from LongLiveUs by CZAR Josh? Check out the album and let us know in the comments!