Radio B Drops New Album, ‘Jesus Never Wore A Suit’

by | Apr 6, 2018 | COMMUNITY

Tired with the glorification of mumble rap? Well if you are like me and grew up listening to godfathers like Jay Z, Nas, and more, this empowering new album may just be right up your alley.

Up-and-coming Richmond rapper Radio B released his 16-track concept album, Jesus Never Wore a Suit (JWNAS) early last month with producer JL Hodges (formerly of Richmond band Avers) in collaboration with Purple Republic, a local audio production company.  

With his latest release, Radio B, whose real name is Greg Carden II, aims to address social and political issues, as well as his viewpoints on religion and how the trust in God’s plan will create a more positive outlook on life given harsh societal conditions. Carden also speaks up for victims of oppression, and urges the community to stop the violence among one another.

“I am honest to my music almost to a fault because I am a very introspective type of artist which means whatever is going on in my life at that moment in time is what you are going to hear, as transparent as possible,” said Carden.

I find this sense of individuality incredibly inspiring especially nowadays considering the fact that aspiring rappers are almost scared to address these kinds of topics in their music because they try to appeal to everyone and not get bashed as they attempt to make a name for themselves. Because he is venting and not simply making party tracks, that same substance is exactly what builds cult followings from people who listen due to the depth of inspiration that the rapper has to offer rather than the sound of a beat.

“We are constantly taking things in and being receptive to the world around us. Everything you experience in life is either good for you or bad for you and I want people to take my music and live with it without it poisoning them. I aim to be respected by my peers and inspire other rappers to either get better or give up,” said Carden.

Carden has carved out a serious name for himself in the Richmond rap scene, pioneering the regular RVA Lyricist Lounge, around town and creating platforms for emerging emcees like Virginia’s rap battle league The Southpaw Battle Coalition to help propel local artists’ careers.

Fly Anakin, Radio B, and Nickelus F at a recent RVA Lyricist Lounge

For this release, Carden recruited a cadre of Richmond’s finest acts from rappers to singers, with features from Fly Anakin, Breeze the Poet, Angelica Baylor, DJ skip, Easalio, Henny L.O., Sam Reed, Nickelus F, and Michael Millions who appears on the song “Grace.” Millions, along with Nickelus F, grew up with Carden on Richmond’s Southside.

“{He’s] one of the best lyrical geniuses in the city with a tremendous work ethic,” Millions said of Radio B. 

Instead of some party tracks and mindless bangers, this project is designed to challenge the way listeners think about the world around them. 

“It doesn’t always appeal to everyone nor is it designed to, but sometimes we just need more music like that. Music doesn’t evoke thinking like it used to anymore, that type of artwork is now limited in a mumble rap dominated industry,” said Millions.

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments, people sitting, night and indoor

Photo Credit: Fisher C. Reaves

After listening to the album a couple of times, I see it more as a story, with every track resembling a different chapter rather than a compilation of individual bangers. “Cursing in Church” and “Village Proverbs” are some of the stand-out tracks given their poetic transitions, and if you ask me, “God Lives” and “Once or Twice” will be on the radio any minute.

As for the group’s creative processes, their chemistry most simply stems from similar visions, according to Hodges. “The listening sessions and sampling of songs didn’t feel like work at all which made us realize that we were doing it right,” he said.

This was the producer’s first time working solely on hip hop. Since leaving Avers, Hodges has since been running Overcoast, a company specializing in music and sound primarily for commercials and other forms of media with studios in Richmond and London.

Using Cubase as his production software, Jesus Never Wore a Suit was Hodges’ first album that he produced using samples. With this project, Hodges said he wanted to “force people to have an opinion and evoke feeling and emotion through a mix of different energies.”

“It could have easily taken just a month to churn out if we wanted, but it would not have been thought-provoking nor multilayered. We are not just rapping on a beat, we are storytelling,” he said.

It didn’t surprise me at all that Carden was a New York native after listening to him rap. His rhyme scheme reminds me of the old Pro Era cyphers that we all know and love.

Personally, I always find it refreshing to see artists who stick to their roots and deliver thought-provoking poetry which is exactly what we are seeing with Radio B.

He will be leading a lecture on his album as a keynote speaker for Virginia Union University on April 12, and you can catch him at the next RVA Lyricist Lounge event May 26 at Strange Matter. His pride for his city is incomparable and his plans to bring it into the spotlight are just getting started.

 

Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond

 

 

Andrew Goetzinger

Andrew Goetzinger

Andrew is a Cuban American marketing student at VCU with a concentration in Product and Brand Management. He enjoys traveling the world, listens to all genres of music, appreciates skateboarding and street culture, and will eat all of the m&m's from your trail mix if given the opportunity. Instagram: a_goetzinger




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