Karlton Jones exists in a rare niche as a Christian artist who both raps and plays the jazz saxophone—sometimes, it seems, in a single breath. He believes riding that narrow lane is the key to his success—that and, of course, the exaltation of Christ in his lyrics.
Jones, whose life changed after what he says felt like a near-death experience in 2007, is confident about his craft and mission. A press release touts his latest project, I Believe, as “[a]nticipated to be the #1 chart topping record of the year.” While I Believe, released February 16, has yet to explode on Billboard’s standard Christian or Gospel charts, the new EP’s title track has been getting love on Christian radio.
Running under 20 minutes, I Believe offers five eclectic tracks that are both breezy and bouncy, with Jones defining the mood of each with his deft saxophone skills. Though well-produced, I Believe falters slightly in some places on the tracks “Da Blood (featuring Braille)” and “All This (featuring Rachel Jones),” the latter of which woos you with its reggae rhythm but disappoints with a shaky vocal delivery. However, the stand-out title track, “I Believe,” offers a seamless blend of jazz, hip-hop, and EDM that Jones rides comfortably with an energetic lyricism.