jon-waltz-home

Will Hagle might scream and yell like Samuel L.

The place Jon Waltz calls Home is also the city from which DJay and Skinny Black hail. Meaning it’s Memphis, but also sort of a fiction. When you leave a place and come back it’s never the same as it was in your mind. Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but upon any triumphant return reality eventually sets in. Ask Diddy and Skylar Grey or E.T or LeBron in two years. Home only looks nice from a distant view.

That’s the message delivered in “Home (Southside),” the latest in a pair of new songs posted by the young Jon Waltz. The song displays a continuity in his sound, as he once again he raps and sings like Cleofis Randolph The Patriarch. He also pines in croon form once more for Victoria, the Rachel to his Ross. Whether or not she’s a real person, even these two mentions make her a character in his work a la Kendrick’s Sherane, Craig Finn’s Charlemagne or DJay’s Shug. I can only hope for more Springsteen-ization of rap, and not the other way around.

“Home” has a laidback vibe, but you could slo-mo Jazzercize to “Rainy Daze.” It begins with a flow that sounds like Chance the rapper but under more control (and control, it should be noted, is different than constraint). Jon Waltz can bust in and out of melody as well as Chance or Vic Mensa or anyone, but he manages to do so without the squawking that so often accompanies that versatility. This song is also actually a Ramsay Almighty track, and he and Waltz are not-quite-but-almost indistinguishable in both style and tone of voice. From a distant view you might not even be able to tell them apart.

That last sentence was a forced segue to loop things back around to “Home,” which is a good song and also a reminder that Home will always be home regardless of whether things or people change for the better or worse. Even if LBJ coming home again like Chris Martin ends in Zach Braff tears, they will still fall onto a pile of 42 million dollars. That’s nearly double the gross domestic total of Hustle & Flow. Like Terrance Howard, Jon Waltz is armed with a dream and a cigarette.

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