We are all influenced by something—movies, TV shows, Instagram posts, and, more often than not, music. We find solace and fidelity in the songs that frame our lives. Many artists attempt to pay homage to their predecessors. This is a noble yet fragile task. One’s reverence for what already is may prevent one from seeing what can be. However, when done tastefully, there is no greater way to appreciate one’s forebears than honoring them in song. On his latest EP, Bigga Purpose, Israel Jones finds himself engaged in the latter, flowing over nostalgic loops in a way only he can. Contemporary bangers fill out the project’s intermediary, showcasing Jones’ versatility and yearning for sonic evolution.
The project begins with its title track, “Bigga Purpose.” Produced by RaphDidIt, a loop of Sade’s “Love is Stronger Than Pride” provides the backdrop for Jones to discuss his ambitions and spiritual evolution. Although undeniably braggadocios, the track evokes a spirit of poised confidence. He describes why and how he is to serve a bigger purpose, with his ancestors guiding him along the way. He raps, “But there I go being Garvey again / I’m thinking of a bigger play for like all of my kin / I feel like Tubman with a shotgun / “Coming or not?” / I’m like Assata with a choppa, I’ll bust at a cop.” Concluding with a complimentary voice memo courtesy of Jones’ friend, “Bigga Purpose,” lays the foundation for the rest of the EP.
While “God’s Eyes” and “18” mark a sonic and topical departure from the project’s title track, Jones sounds just as comfortable, flowing effortlessly over West Coast and Plugg instrumentals courtesy of Saidon. “God’s Eyes” features the project’s stickiest hook, supplemented by clever imagery describing Jones’ desire for monetary gain.
“18” serves as a five-year retrospective for Jones. He reflects on who he was at 18 years old, showing appreciation for how much he’s grown since then. After describing specific obstacles he faced, Jones has walked through every year since then. He points towards his musical output as a sign of development. This is followed by the track’s emotional crescendo when Jones says, “Crying on your momma’s shoulder, you know what that feel like / Hearing your momma’s proud of you, you know what that feel like / I gotta walk in gratitude, shit I feel alive.”
The project’s final track, “Bron’s Groove,” is analogous to the opening track but has even quicker flows and a more assertive tone. As elegant guitars courtesy of DJ Quik fills the track’s sonic canvas, Jones directly addresses his doubters individually.
Bigga Purpose thrives in its brevity, sequencing, and flexibility. It sandwiches modern sounds between soulful samples and wistful soliloquies. Its emotional range is wide but never lacking in authenticity, merely serving as a reflection of the ups and downs of young adulthood. For Israel Jones, it marks a new chapter in his career, one characterized by independence, advancement, and renewed purpose.