Premiere: Justin Christopher Erupts with “Say,” a Smoldering & Searing Outpouring of the Soul

Justin Christopher © 2022
Justin Christopher © 2022
Bridging hip-hip and neo soul, Justin Christopher’s smoldering song “Say” channels pain into beauty through a captivating and cathartic unveiling of achingly intense emotion.
for fans of Frank Ocean, Khalid, Kwaye
Stream: “Say” – Justin Christopher




Making ‘Say’ was me creating a shelf to place the bulk of my circumstantial depression on.

Born from a place of hurt and suffering, Justin Christopher’s new single is a stunningly intimate outpouring of vulnerability, truth, and raw self-expression. Bridging hip-hip and neo soul, the smoldering “Say” channels pain into beauty through a captivating and cathartic unveiling of achingly intense emotion. In embracing his fracture, Christopher finds the path forward to being whole once more.

Say - Justin Christopher
Say – Justin Christopher
i see the reckoning
of a sacrificial lamb ahead
was it worth
burns on your skin
for a hollow yellow grin no
all my plans gone outta sight underneath
haven’t felt this lost since I was 17
haven’t this disassociated
in ever, ever ever ever
breaking way from all you know, that vicious loop
you take one step, its canines show, it growls at you

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the evocative music video for “Say,” Justin Christopher’s extraordinary first single of the year (released today, May 18, 2022 via Future Gods, together with B-Side “Truce Notes”). A Memphis native currently based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Christopher has spent the past four long years cultivating an artistic identity full of fire and passion. This was evident right from this start, with his debut songs “Burning Houses” and “Ufos & the Rainbow Children” showcasing his talents as a heartfelt writer, dynamic rapper, and alluring performer with an edgy, left-of-center hip-hop sound. Citing inspirations that run the gamut from “Andre 3000, Lupe Fiasco, and MF DOOM to Pink Floyd, Bon Iver, and ’80s synth-pop,” Justin Christopher doesn’t hold himself back in his lyrics, or in any other parts of his art.

Justin Christopher © 2022
Justin Christopher © 2022

Christopher’s latest release is particularly bold and unapologetically emotional: Both “Say” and “Truce Notes” find the artist at his most sincere, authentic, and vulnerable as he reckons with the wreckage inside and out. While it is undeniably feverish and charged, “Say” actually starts out in a soft confessional space: “I see the reckoning of a sacrificial lamb ahead,” Christopher sings, his voice heavily effected with a kind of jarring overdrive that contrasts with the dreamy electric guitar and easygoing snaps at his side. “Was it worth?” he asks of himself and into the darkness. “Burns on your skin for a hollow yellow grin… no…

So begins the waterfall that spills forth when the floodgates are drawn. “All my plans gone, outta sight, underneath. Haven’t felt this lost since I was 17; haven’t been this disassociated in ever,” Christopher confesses. Now, there are no vocal effects; it’s just him pouring himself into the music, crooning sweetly and soulfully as he shares his pain with his audience. “Breaking way from all you know, that vicious loop, you take one step, its canines show, it growls at you.”

The guitar line heightens as Christopher transitions from singing to rapping; and just as he breaks us down with his singing voice, he builds us back up again with his impeccable rap abilities. His timing is impeccable and his rhyme schemes are as creative as they are thought-provoking; he sacrifices nothing in delivering an alluring exposé on his broken, but nonetheless hopeful spirit:

since walls on the spine and no cavalry here behind
i look to side to side on my left there’s an empty space
and my right was hand reached down, take it
but a voice throwing apprehension
my way said, “what if their wrist break
and it’s not just you back to lonely bottom
it’s you dragging love to a home for coffin?”
reflection looking tired mighty smug wash sad off my face
can’t feel your touch anymore the back and forth
you did nothing wrong that fragile chord struck again
down he goes count to 10 ice the blows
wash and rinse repeating myself through a megaphone
calm it all down til we make it home

“Making ‘Say’ was me creating a shelf to place the bulk of my circumstantial depression on,” Christopher tells Atwood Magazine. “I recently have been on what’s hopefully a constructive journey of loss. Like a ton of artists my financial situation is all over the place, I’ve had a few longtime relationships jump ship over the past few months, and my dog passed away on my birthday (R.I.P. Sam). I wanted to create a place for all of the emotions that came along with those events, and I feel like I sort of accomplished that with ‘Say’. By the end of the track things start to look up for me in an unfounded hope type of way.”

Justin Christopher © 2022
Justin Christopher © 2022
wherever that lead
burned the bridge but can’t char the memory
how i tried your ghost fireproof in my mind
i’m slow to make a move call for help
everything around us burnt gets swept
from dust to life, from life to dust
the moment falls between fingers
so for our sake let’s readjust
i break the tension i will
not scared to face it i will

While “Say” is musically outstanding in its own right, Christopher’s accompanying music video brings us that much closer to the Texas-based artist. Scenes of him alone with nature – be it walking along a rocky beach, strolling through empty fields, or driving along a tree-lined roadway – enhance the music’s sense of intimacy and introspection. He conveys the weight of the world as it fell on him: “Burned the bridge but can’t char the memory, how i tried your ghost fireproof in my mind, i’m slow to make a move call for help, everything around us burnt gets swept.” And yet, he ends on a subtle positive note, going back to his opening line in a finale that feels more inspiring than it does ominous this time around:

i break the tension i will
not scared to face it i will
i see the reckoning
of a sacrificial lamb ahead

“Say” is immersive, intoxicating, and altogether enchanting. Justin Christopher has painted a warm, complex world in his latest release, inviting listeners to bask and dwell with him as he slowly, steadily embarks on the path of healing. Transforming our pain into beauty takes time, patience, and hard work: It involves learning to love ourselves, accept the facts of life that we can’t change, and finding our voice, even when we think we have none.

2022 already promises to be a bright year for an artist who can’t help but wear his heart on his sleeve and his soul in his songs. Stream “Say” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

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:: stream/purchase “Say” here ::
Stream: “Say” – Justin Christopher




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Say - Justin Christopher

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📸 © 2022

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