Justo the MC, Brelstaff - Urban Testimony

In the richest traditions of the art of storytelling, Brooklyn rapper Justo the MC has teamed up with Edinburgh producer Brelstaff for a fascinating new album documenting his arrival at a crossroads from a life defining year.

“Urban Testimony” is a deeply personal narrative depicting events leading up to and during his curtailed stay at Clark Atlanta University. Raised in a household of faith surrounded by a tough environment, details unfold of a conflicted mind on a potential escape route to academia straying rapidly on a path to hedonism, due in no small part to the prevalent culture witnessed on arrival.

Although an account of a specific set of experiences from a singular perspective, it is a story which will resonate more widely. At its heart is the question of self identity, motivations and aspirations while presented with the opportunities to be liberated from constraints. However this is neither celebration nor glorification, but instead a reflection of regret, the consequences incurred and knowledge gained.

It is of little surprise that a rapper of such pedigree would display all the skills required to paint such vivid pictures with the lyrical pen. First emerging in 2010 while collaborating with his cousin DJ Vic Black of The Gang Starr Foundation, strong foundations were built on a series of independent releases. Those included work with Philadelphia’s power producer Elbe Kim on the 2014 project “Fly Seoul” the mixtape “7-1-Ocho” with Mexican producer Ocho Vasquez and culminated in the explosive “Black Ops” produced entirely by the legendary Showbiz of D.I.T.C. curated by DJ Vick Black and DJ Premier.

A deep rooted mindset to work beyond borders, further collaborations with producers from Italy, Canada and the UK added to an already impressive back catalogue, while in more recent times, several releases with fellow Brooklynite Maticulous saw the pair appear on DJ Premier’s “Live From HeadQuarterz” Shade 45 show on Sirius XM as part of their promotional tour for the album “Mind of a Man”.

The soundtrack to the new album is provided by Edinburgh producer Brelstaff. Originally operating under his born name Daryl Donald, his reputation as one of the most respected emerging beatmakers was well earned with the release of “Solitude” in 2017 followed in 2019 by the albums “Behold the Spirit” and “Full Circle” which cumulatively generated over a million streams on Spotify.

Since adopting the new pseudonym he released the self titled album “Brelstaff” in 2020 and most recently in February 2023 the single “Cursive” with renowned west coast rapper Fashawn. His first venture with Justo the MC came in 2021 with the release of “Swagu” and his trademark concoction of chilled lofi soulful hip hop blended with jazz fusion and ambient electronica sets the perfect backdrop for the turbulent and complex themes addressed in their new joint venture.

As Justo continues the metaphysical role of both interrogator and witness tackling his loss of faith, alienation from family, drink and drug experimentation, promiscuity and the subsequent disconnect from reality he begins to experience with an impending sense of despair, Brelstaff’s productions are symbiotic in nature.

Images of an emotional rollercoaster through nostalgia, bliss, fear, confusion and regrets are etched onto an ethereal and hypnotic musical score manifested in tracks “High”, “Fine Line”, “Satan’s Grip”, “No Escape”, “Falling” and “Dark Room”.

However so too are the uplifting soulful sounds of “Definition of Love” and “Sunday” reflecting the album’s key fundamental messages of redemption, renewed focus and self discovery.

A tale of epiphany from harsh lessons learned, creatively wrapped in a heartfelt cry of “Carpe Diem” to all who may be similarly minded to risk it all. You have been so advised… an essential listen.

Released through New Dawn Records

Lyrics written and performed by Justo the MC
Additional lyrics written and performed by Preem & DVNA
Produced by Brelstaff

Copyright 2023 New Dawn Records

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