I’ve dedicated the entirety of 2019 to searching through the dark corners of the internet for some of the dopest underground talent. California was the first state to really overwhelm my palette. The over-saturation is wild. One artist who really stood out to me, though, was Jodie Jo’. This kid is a prodigy. He writes, performs, produces, and mixes his music. Then goes out and directs and edits his music videos himself.

Through word of mouth, I got linked to his new album, Pen Soul. I firmly believe that this kid is going to be an influential artist for the generations to come. After listening to this album many times now, I’ve noticed that sonically and emotionally I have two distinct different experiences.

Stream Jodie Jo’ Pen Soul

Sonically, his production and overall mix feel like a handcrafted log cabin. A natural foundation of hip-hop production that’s rough around the edges yet sturdy. Then when you really get inside of it you realize it’s actually warm and comforting. When I’m focused on something else, like a chore, I can tune out the lyrics and simply enjoy the beats.

When focusing on the lyrics, though, I can relate and empathize, I feel it. Jodie Jo’ speaks personally about all aspects of his life and those around him. He has the storytelling techniques found throughout the great forefathers of rap and those who influenced him.

“She movin’ on, she got a future plan
He callin’ her phone while she at home 
she like, not you again. 
Don’t say a word she tell the kids when he call
Because these walls done found a newer man
She’s ruder than customer service at a drive-thru
During midnight while the kids eat
Two tacos and a big drink ‘cause

Miss Cheap is a bit tight on dollar bills 
Cause all the bills she supposed to pay
Are overdue cause her new nails and her new cell
Was a more important payment over food and still 
who’s the better parent they act like they can’t tell
She’s the one with custody cause once he had fel
Onies when he was younger but he’s older now
Don’t they know that men change when they see an ultrasound?”

Second verse from “Mama Drama (The Tale of the Good Baby Daddy)”

Immediately when Jodie Jo’ starts to rhyme, you can hear influential artists. Tonally, he carries a voice akin to Andre 3000. At times you can hear Kendrick, Cole, and Gambino. The way he incorporates elements of his influences into his songs doesn’t feel like a knock-off. It feels like he’s paying homage. You can hear the soul of hip-hop through all sixteen tracks on this album.

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My absolute favorite track is “Church Sunday, Stripper Monday.” The hook captures the haunting soul of a young girl stripping to get by in life but trying to maintain the image of innocence.

The quality carries steadily throughout the entire album. From intro to outro, skit to skit; even the interlude, “Reflection,” is a funky ass track. It does what an interlude should and cleanses your palette, perking you back up for the last bit of the album.

That track leads into the song, “Asthma & Pneumonia.” Jodie Jo’, for real, made a bangin’ song about a damn respiratory condition. The brilliance of it and the level of relatability is just one of the many reasons why I’ve fallen in love with his artistry.

Most recently, Jodie Jo’ released a music video for his single, “Perm Rods.” The theme of which is loving a woman in her most naturalist form. Seeing her with no make-up on while her hair is under wraps. He just seems like such a beautiful soul, I’m truly thankful to have been made aware that his music exists.

Watch The Latest Music Video By Jodie Jo’ – “Perm Rods”