TJ Francis – Free Your Mind EP Review

So I have no knowledge of TJ Francis other than he is an MC from West London. At the moment in the UK Hip Hop scene it seems like a lot of newer artists that are coming up are just riding the current trends. These current trends at the moment are the Afro stylings of J Hus/Kojo Fundz or trap music. Whilst I personally have no problem with either, It can be quite repetitive looking for new artists to listen to.  Personally i believe the diversity of the UK scene is what makes it head and shoulders better than the US.

The first track on this mixtape Hustler prayer ft Keys is perfectly placed as instantly it grabs you. I really enjoy the instrumental, but for the life of me I don’t know what song it is from.  It’s perfect grown up road music. What I really enjoy about the track is that is that lyrics are the forefront of the song. The one nit-pick with the song however is the chorus, whilst musically the chorus is fine and the singer Keys’ vocals are good, sonically the chorus isn’t mixed as well as the rest of the track. I wouldn’t be surprised if the chorus was recorded separately. A Strong track nonetheless

The next track Trouble is actually the best track on the mixtape. It’s no secret that I seriously rate story telling. I believe songs such as this enforce my belief that rap is just poetry with music. The instrumental is a beautiful accompaniment to the lyrics as it’s got a subtle ambient vibe. The chorus on this track is the perfect partner to the verses. Unfortunately the singer on the track isn’t credited which is a shame as he brings pure emotion to the chorus. One small thing I would change is that I wish that the chorus had an added instrument, This in my opinion would bring in an added intensity. That however isn’t a criticism just an observation.

The Messages to Fallon interlude is a nice touch.

Wish You Well Feat Mad J & MNELIA is a proper grown up song. Even though the track is essentially just one verse it still manages to get the message across of what he is saying. One certain line really stuck with me.

“I wanna simple life, buff wife and a mortgage”

and if we can’t buy it twice then it means we can’t afford it

And that’s alright cause all these moments are rewarding

Living comfy with your rider is a better feeling than balling”

That right there is the most grown up shit I’ve heard this year so far. As someone who doesn’t buy into the superficial bullshit most rappers feel inclined to spout. I love it when someone raps something real like this. The song ends with an interview snippet from Biggie Smalls in which he chastises rappers not being themselves and just copying what’s popular.   

Old Me Feat Wilbury War Boys is in my opinion the weakest song on the mixtape. That in itself is actually a compliment because it’s not a bad song it just isn’t as good as the other tracks. It’s also more the featured act’s song. However I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that their name just reminds me of those minions in Mad Max. I do like the chorus and the instrumental on this track.

And finally the last two tracks Where I Come From & Best Friend are covers. Now I don’t mind covers just not too many and I don’t care much if it is not a cover that is being overdone. However as Tj Francis himself has bars he actually pulls it off. I honestly believe his cover of Ed Sheeran here is better than stormzy’s

Final Thoughts

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed and I can gladly say I am happy I chose this mixtape to review. Whilst it doesn’t re-invent the wheel it is a strong body of music. Also in the current climate it is a respite from the copycat styles.  I also wouldn’t have minded one or two more songs but the length does leave you wanting more. It is a thoughtful grown up reflection on life in which the lyrics are the centre stage. I advise to check this out as it good


Flow – 8/10


Lyricism – 8.5/10


Beats/ Production – 8/10


Songcraft – 8/10


Concept/ Originality 7.5/10


Final Score