Being able to publish words on paper and web has its benefits, and there is one benefit I don’t appreciate more than being recommended music. It’s a bold move honestly, there is a lot on the line if your recommendations aren’t on par with the tastes of those you give it out to. I’ve seen entire friendships built around a taste in similar music, some of mine tracing back to high school when Jersey City DJs had mixtapes getting handed around like money. There was something about those physical CDs—sharing music wasn’t just a tap on the screen, sharing music was a gesture. It’s serious business, and I fuck with people with good tastes.
A few months ago, a friend introduced me to JMSN (pronounced Jameson) only telling me he looks like a “white Jesus”. I had a laugh and with an obvious skepticism I looked JMSN up for a quick glance. He wasn’t lying. However time pressed with finals I had to set that aside, like a CD, to give it a listen with the proper attention later. It was a great move as I later found out, artists like JMSN need a little extra attention to fully understand.
Shot like a 90’s Michael Jackson music video, ‘Bout It is a track to appreciate for talent. It is definitely a video you’ll have fun sharing as it’s both serious and not-taking-itself-seriously. There is something about JMSN that reminds me of music I’m already familiar with. This isn’t to say he’s something played out or unoriginal, but there are influences there that he as an artist is aware of and makes known to us. JMSN makes music that stems from deep human situations, yet the loose and care-free exhibition of dance moves in the middle of the desert plains comes off light and laid back enough for any 420 playlist.
It’s hard not to root for him when there’s such a “fuck it” attitude especially given he’s working so hard musically. JMSN is a modern Renaissance with his talents floating between singer, producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist that simply came about out of the necessity of learning to create independently. JMSN, born Christian Berishaj, is a man that’s found himself, his true self, after years of trying to find who that was. It’s not even about a big leap in progression, Christian sounded like two completely different artists during his time under Atlantic Records and then under Universal Motown. The evidence of record labels playing a detrimental hand in artist development keeps popping up numerous times and this may be another in drop in that ocean. Thankfully JMSN decided to pack up and start his own label, White Room Records, and it’s been uphill development since. His collaboration streak alone is impressive enough, appearing several times on Kendrick Lamar’s highly successful GOOD KID MAD CITY along with an indefinitely unreleased collaborative album with Ab-Soul entitled Unit 6.
JMSN is currently hitting a new stride on the same groove with his latest album, It Is, released earlier this month. We’re beginning to see a refinement in his style. Themes established during his earlier releases carry on but on a lighter progressive note. Long gone is the Jesus look, which he was well aware of, and we see a simpler man in front of us. It’s a mature direction to head in, a change of hairstyles is recurring way for artists to express a change in mentality. The lyrics are now more optimistic rather than emotionally deep in a way that seemed caught up. It’s the next step of development after finding a foundation that feels right.
We’ve all made mistakes, and more often than not we learn to let go and put it in the past. JMSN, like any other regular guy, has seen his far share of that. Rather than let his talents die he managed to get back on the horse and try again. The past being the past, it’s irrelevant as long as you find the peace in starting a new page. There’s no need for me to bring up where he’s been before adopting the name JMSN—his journey did not begin back in 2001 but when he decided the journey began.
That extra angle you get on an artist in a modern age with Youtube allows them to fine craft who they are and we get to witness the transitions from one video to another. It’s interesting to see growth in an artist that already has a good fat pocket of work to go through. There’s a lot to take away from JMSN‘s visuals: working hard is useless if you’re not having the time to have fun and let go. Stress isn’t a byproduct of the things you enjoy so let loose, find the groove, and feel the funk.