Writer: Kyle Wheelock
Since the days of Nujabes and J Dilla, lo-fi hip-hop as always had a niche following. With the rise of Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and even Youtube, independent musicians have been able to freely create and share their own music. Enter George “Joji” Miller, an Australian-Japanese producer, singer, and former Youtube giant.
Miller was the mastermind behind Filthy Frank, a character that Miller himself described as, “the embodiment of everything a person should not be”. While portraying this character, Miller became one of the most notable and iconic Youtuber, with his TVFilthyFrank channel boasting 5.6 million subscribers and 694 million views total, all while creating controversial content that many believed didn’t deserve a platform. Despite producing outrageously offensive videos, Miller still found success with his Filthy Frank persona, including releasing a comedy album, Pink Season, which debuted on top of the iTunes chart, a SXSW performance, and even starting the Harlem Shake craze that swept the nation a few years ago (Yep, we got this because of Filthy Frank).
However, all good (or terrible perhaps) things must come to an end, as on December 29, 2017, Miller announced via twitter that he would no longer be creating Filthy Frank videos due to, “serious health concerns” and a general lack of interest in continuing the channel. The news came as a shock to many, but some of his fans could see the writing on the wall. While creating his Filthy Frank content, Miller also produced his own, lo-fi hip-hop beats on Soundcloud under the alias, Joji. These tracks are few and far between (his soundcloud only has twelve tracks with the longest being only 2:59 in length) and was originally intended to be a secret for him and his friends to enjoy. This didn’t last for long, as eventually two songs, “Thom,” and, “You Suck Charlie,” were leaked and discovered by his fanbase, prompting him to take his art and his identity into his own hand, which lead to the release of more singles on his Soundcloud, as well as a commercial EP, In Tongues as well.
In Tongues was released on November 3, 2017 and contains only six tracks (equalling a sixteen minute runtime), but also shows the amount of talent Miller has, as well as the time and care he puts into his production. According to Miller, he has been crafting songs since his early childhood years but never took it seriously until his teenage years, when he began scouring the internet for tutorials and refining his work. All these years of practice have resulted in Miller being able to craft these downtempo beats with interesting sound selections, layered vocals, and beautiful piano loops.
His tracks have a soulful, R&B vibe, something Miller himself describes as, “romantic garbage”. And these tracks definitely fit the romantic part, as a lot of the lyrics focus on a failed relationship, getting over a breakup, an unrequited love, etc. The lyrics are admittedly not super deep or varied, but the compliment the mood of the tracks very nicely without ruining anything. Some standouts from In Tongues include, “Will He”, “Demons”, and “Windows”, so definitely check those out if you wanna get an idea of what Joji is all about (or just check out In Tongues on any streaming platform, it’s six songs). Alternatively, you can browse his Soundcloud for other gems like, “Thom”, “You Suck Charlie”, or, “i dont wanna waste my time”, all of which feature a grittier sound than anything on In Tongues.
Filthy Frank was, polarizing, to say the least. Millions found him funny, many others found him offensive and tasteless. But whatever your or anyone else’s opinions on Filthy Frank may be, they shouldn’t stop you from giving Joji a chance. His music is emotional and arranged beautifully, due largely in part for Miller’s ear for sampling and sound selection and the overall final product is a pretty solid body of work.
TL; DR: Joji makes good lo-fi beats
Recommendations: Thom, You suck Charlie, i don’t wanna waste my time, Will He, Demons, Windows