It’s been nine months since we’ve heard from Javon Johnson, AKA “X,” but the Houston based rapper has returned and he’s stronger than ever. Dropping his new single “Playgrounds,” produced by Jason Carey, Johnson has gone from dark and gravely depressing, to upbeat and bold. The track, mastered by K-Wash, is layered with rolling drums and light piano work, and is finished with a bluesy guitar solo by Jay Moth. The sound is something we’ve never heard before from Johnson, but it’s getting us excited for his New Year’s release, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The track gives a glimpse into Johnson’s mind, and echoes the passion that drives his heart deep into his lyrics. When we last spoke to him, he was battling homelessness and finding it difficult to thrive in a city that once rejected him. However, what we hear with “Playgrounds” is an artist who has overcome his adversities and has found confidence in his obvious talent. In three and half minutes, Johnson proves to us and himself that all the doubt he has encountered in his life has actually instilled in him a great sense of independence and self motivation.
“Playgrounds” is a song about the high turnover rate of the good and the bad in our lives. As adolescents, a fun time at the playground can turn south with one trip over our own feet. It carries true into adulthood, falling into relationships that cause more harm than growth, or constantly feeling the pressure of a society that seems to be moving on without you. Whatever way we look at it, this track is a testament to how much Johnson has grown in nine months, and, as poetic as he is, it has been his rebirth.
You can hear “Playgrounds” below.