jv2[From Do Right! Music] Today, Hip Hop is an overcrowded, saturated musical genre that is riddled with sub genres; club hits and gangster rap, backpackers and true school heads. Amongst them all stands Justis aka Justin Vail, hailing from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada to drop his debut solo project entitled ‘Just Is’. This album sheds the skin of everyday gimmicks, and avoids being pigeon holed by typical overdone formats. It’s the modern hip hop music for people who dance, listen, love and live.
Through out the album, Justis maintains a sincere demeanor as he takes you though his day to day life. Seamlessly, his raps weave well thought patterns over hard hitting instrumentals as he reveals himself to the listener. Expressing concerns, triumphs, stresses and joys, Justis speaks to listeners as equals. On songs such as “Get It Right” and “Down” his earnest swagger and playfulness with words travels over his own brand of bouncy, jazz based production, that will make even the most judgmental of hip hop purest pull a neck muscle.
A small group of talented producers lend their efforts on this project which helps to make ‘Just Is’ sound like a complete album, rather then a collection of poorly planned attempts at radio hits; a rarity in today’s climate. Young production virtuoso, Mantis, pounds out everything from the melodic, such as “Spill the wine” a hypnotizing song well explained by it’s title, to the high energy like “Weekend”, a tune that’s all about letting loose and forgetting the weeks troubles.
Justis also enlists production from abroad with the uplifting cut “Try’n to Live” courtesy of The Drum Brothers (France); a song which speaks to the everyday fears of 20somethings making their way in the world. This soulful, motivating cut features the powerful voice of singing talent Rufus on the hook to help finish off what is bound to become a classic.
Adding to the Diversity of the album, Justis teams up with Canadian Fusion Jazz quartet Ace Kinkaid. The team can be heard on such songs as “Music for a Rainy Day” and the already well known “Jazz Music”. The smoothed out, and at times of kilter combination of the two makes for an inventive sound that will be loved by any music fan.
‘Just Is’ is the album that urban music fans and lovers of all things grooved out can appreciate. Very seldom is there an artist, like Justis, who has the talent and charisma to speak so honestly to listeners while still being musical. Justis will make sure you can’t ignore his efforts.

Artist / AlbumYearCreditPurchase
2008 Justis - Just Is
Just Is
Apr 2008
Noah Mintz