On March 13, 2020, Jah9 released her third studio album, Note To Self. It has 15 tracks. It was really well-timed, as the worldwide spread of COVID-19 dominates the news and the minds of the people. So as government officials advise people to stay inside their homes as much as possible, Jah9 has given us a project to move even furthermore inside: inside ourselves.
As she sings on ‘Field Trip “Let me help you find yourself inside your other mind.” ‘Note To Self’ is exactly that. A peek inside Jah9’s mind. A look inside her journal/diary. Yeah, it’s a personal project. She has stated that this album is literally she having conversations with herself. Raw, honest and uncomfortable conversations. Which is the rough work that is needed in order to find solutions to all of life’s troubles and to grow as an individual.
“I’m going to be okay.”— Jah9
The title track, ‘Note To Self’ (feat. Chronixx) sees her basically reminding and convincing herself that she’s going to be okay even when everything isn’t going great and she’s probably at her lowest point. Throughout the song, she continuously says “I’m going to be okay” like a mantra. A well-needed reminder. Her voice really blends well with Chronixx and it’s always a joy to hear them together.
The other collaborations on the album: ‘New Race’ (feat. Akala), You and I (feat. Pressure Busspipe) and ‘Ready To Play’ (feat. Tarrus Riley)
Jah9 was featured on Pressure’s last album, ‘Rebel With A Cause‘ so it was nice to see him on her project as well. Even though it is my least listened song on the album. It’s not a horrible song but it just doesn’t connect for me. On the other hand, ‘Ready To Play‘ has been my most played song from the album. What a song sweet! On this song, Jah9 expresses her love for music on a whole. From the writing and recording process to playing with her band onstage.
Jah9 also touches on the topic of love and relationships. The good and the bad. On ‘Highly’, she addresses the importance of having standards for your relationships and therefore knowing what you will stand for. Even though ‘Love Has Found I’ was released 2 years ago, I’m glad that it is on the album because it is still one of my favourites from her entire discography. On both songs, it is clear how much the principles and life of Haile Selassie have influenced her life.
Jah9 is also a yoga practitioner and she definitely stretched herself on this album. From her vocal range and delivery to her choice of producers to work with. You can hear some new tones in her voice on certain songs like ‘Note To Self‘ and ‘Could It Be’. She is even rapping! on ‘Ma’at’. She has been known to work with elder musicians and experienced producers on her previous albums but this time around she included new/younger producers such as Teflon (‘New Race’) along with co-productions from Runkus (‘Note To Self’ and ‘Highly’) and iotosh (Note To Self and Highly), who did additional production on ‘Ma’at’ as well.
Overall, I think it is a good album. It’s not too long and it flows nicely. It’s definitely one of those albums you would want to sit with and listen right through and probably make some notes for yourself. Funnily enough, the intro is actually at the end so by the time you reach there you realize that you’re only just starting the journey. Which should lead you to go listen to it again. Brilliant!
Ma’at (Each Man)
Note to Self (Okay) feat. Chronixx
Highly (Get To Me)
Love Has Found I
Ready to Play feat. Tarrus Riley
Note To Self is available on all streaming platforms. Listen now.