The Alina Marin Theory
Johaz has been relatively quiet. While fellow Deep Rooted member Mr. Brady has released a bevy of EPs and albums since the group's last album in 2009, Johaz has leaked only a few tracks, though he's been working on a collaboration called Dag Savage with famed L.A. beatsmith Exile. That's a hard road to travel in 2012, when artists might release a new song every day just to stay at the top of people's minds.
The Alina Marin Theory EP could be Jo haz's way of maintaining his visibility. Featuring Exile and his Deep Rooted fam, Alina Marin serves as a holdover until either Dag Savage or the next Deep Rooted album drops. The six-track EP was released for free download on Valentine's Day. (If you're wondering who Alina Marin is, you'd be hard-pressed to find an answer, even from Johaz himself.)
The topics in Alina Marin run the gamut from lost love to fake, money-grubbing women to giving up the “player” lifestyle. It's reminiscent of Ghostface Killah's 2009 album Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City. Both Ghostface and Johaz take the concept of “ladies' songs” and explore it from different angles, like a writing exercise.
But Ghostdini received mixed reviews, and Johaz is not quite the writer Ghostface is. Alina Marin turns out to be a mixed affair. “Socialite Girl” wins because it's just so hard to go wrong sampling Sade's beautiful voice and lyrics. “Watch Some Martin” is playfully intimate with its moody, bassheavy instrumental and quirky references to the '90s sitcom starring Martin Lawrence. “Digital Love,” sampling Zapp & Roger's “Computer Love,” is either kinda genius or kinda obnoxious. The remaining songs lack inspiration.
Thankfully, albums by Dag Savage and Deep Rooted are slated to drop this year, so this pit stop won't even matter.