After launching #BennettKnowsRadio in 2013, I became deeply immersed in the music scene at the University of Rhode Island. Whereas I was now a hungry radio producer looking for talents, there were a handful of artists looking for a platform to share their work. I never had to look too far for special guests; the college campus was thriving with a community of creatives that worked together to elevate themselves and the stories they carried with them. At the time there was a new group of creators developing called the Black Plague. Consisting of singers, producers, rappers and videographers amongst many, the group represented a multi-faceted tribe of creatives that planned on taking over the creative scene with their work. “Living our dreams! Improv in Prov till we improve,” was the slogan. The group included acts like rappers Verzatyl and ADTheThird and producers Victor Levie, and Toye aka Toyeast. This was also where I met Rodda J and his brother Jeffery Jones. The duo were known for delivering dynamic performances that showcased their smooth vocals and beautiful harmonies. Growing up in a musical family grounded in the church, it was no wonder they brought the house down with every performance they met. As Rodda J progressed on his journey as an artist he released solo projects like Shades of Gray while continuing to flex those smooth and soulful vocals and niche for songwriting alongside singers like Olivia King, Bianca and Somali.
In 2022 Rodda J continues to shine his light, but this time, he’s standing in his truth. Following the release of the 2021 single “More Like You,” the Providence singer and songwriter delivers a five-song Christian EP titled Unashamed, released January 30th, 2022. From the project’s opening song, a triumphant testimony that finds Rodda unapologetically laying everything out on the table through the final track “Through Fire,” where the singer embraces the grace of God before taking the road less traveled, Rodda J raises the vibration with vocals, often compared to R&B singer Trey Songz, with an impeccable faith in the Lord. Unashamed is a melodic testimony that will have you singing and bopping to the work of the Lord while making breakfast! That was definitely me as I played the EP on repeat last weekend! However, the uplifting project, the inspirational tracks and overall joyful ambience of this testimony was no walk in the park. Oftentimes, we find a spark of light through the darkest moments. Although the project was birthed from trial and tribulations such as mental health, suicide and infidelity, this project serves as a celebration and gratitude for the transition God has had in Rodda J’s life. During a period where many people find themselves dwelling in tough times, Unashamed reminds us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and through Jesus Christ, all things are possible.