Cementing himself as one of 2021’s hottest breakthrough global stars, with more than half-a-billion streams and Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 smash, critically acclaimed Staten Island, NY rapper CJ unveils his anxiously awaited debut Loyalty Over Royalty EP today. It’s available HERE via CJ Music Group/Warner Records.
The opener “Politics” practically explodes on impact, CJ’s raw energy burns through the track, and oppositions, with breathless bars and a menacing melody. He also shared the high energy music video for the single, which feels like a championship celebration.
The 24-year-old artist maximizes his momentum over each of the eight red hot tracks on Loyalty Over Royalty. Flutes flutter above 808s as CJ carries a catchy chorus on “I’m Lit” [feat. French Montana]. Meanwhile, French rolls through with a classic cameo.
Watch ‘Politics‘ below
Then, there’s “Goin’ Up.” CJ bodies another drill beat with a staccato delivery and a punchy refrain. French notably served as the EP’s Executive Producer, guiding the “young czar” every step of the way. CJ ignites what promises to be an unforgettable 2021 with Loyalty Over Royalty. Check out the full tracklisting below.
Regarding Loyalty Over Royalty, CJ commented, “This is really just my introduction to the industry,” he exclusively told us. “I didn’t want to get too crazy with features and flood the whole EP with features, so I kind of just kept it a little to myself and just got some records with just me. But definitely the next project, definitely expect some more features.”
Last month, CJ jumped on Busta Rhymes’ infectious “Czar” remix, and he dropped the single “Bop,” which has already racked up millions of streams and video views. In addition to plugs from NME, HotNewHipHop, and more, Complex praised how “CJ pulls no punches letting it be known that he understands his new celebrity status.” However, UPROXX put it best, “CJ can safely say his 2021 is off to a great start.”
To celebrate the EP’s arrival, CJ delivered a live powerhouse performance on YouTube last night with surprise guest French Montana. CJ, alongside DJ Enuff rocked through a show stopping five-song set available on-demand!
Loyalty Over Royalty EP Tracklisting:
- I’m Lit (Ft. French Montana)
- Goin’ Up
- Real One
- Outro (Blessings)
In the summer of 2020, CJ’s infectious and booming “Whoopty” rose from Staten Island obscurity to national spotlight in weeks, and with good reason. Rapped in CJ’s lean, percussive style, the track is undeniably great and wildly catchy, as threatening as it is stylish, gritty but full of promise all qualities embodied by the MC himself, who’s since grown a huge international following and been named Billboard’s #1 Emerging Artist.
The fact that CJ, who is 100 percent Puerto Rican and was raised by a single mother, hails from a borough that hasn’t produced a major rap act since the Wu makes his rise an even greater testament to his skill and charisma. CJ wrote his first bars at 7 and started recording as a teen, digging up beats online, crossing the city to hit different studios, and rapping about the anxieties that haunted him as an ambitious youth (see “On Me”).
In 2018, his remix of Gunna’s “Toast Up” earned him more ears, but CJ really came into his own during 2020 quarantine. With studios shut down and drill blaring from nearby windows, he put pen to paper, writing song after song. After all that honing and nurturing by industry vet and manager, James Cruz, “Whoopty” burst out the next time he got in front of a mic.
The song was equal parts delirious, fun, and street, thick with New York slang and sprinkled with Spanish. “Whoopty” racked up over 182 million views on YouTube and 2 million and counting video creations on TikTok, where it also sparked two dance challenges.
CJ’s hustle earned him a deal with Warner Records, too, and now with a slate of singles on deck, he plans to show just how versatile he is while proudly putting Staten on his back.