Baltimore-bred R&B singer
has been in the music industry since he was a teenager, signing with Capitol Records and later J Records, and recording with legends like Stevie Wonder and Nas. But lately, his career has seemed to be in a frustrating standstill. A couple of his singles, including the Nas collaboration "
," charted nationally in 2011, and then nothing much of note happened, besides those singles being collected on the quietly released Cold Summer EP in 2012. But in the last few weeks, he's finally released some new music, in fact quite a lot of it. In late August, a CJ Hilton studio album,
This Is Me
, hit the
. In concert earlier this year, he'd announced a mixtape under that title, but instead it's surfaced as a self-released retail album, without any of the borrowed beats or DJ drops of his 2010 mixtape,
. In fact, it sounds quite a lot like the major label debut that Hilton's fans have hoped for and waited on for years, except for the major label part – it's not clear if he's still signed to J Records. It doesn't feature any of his popular older singles, but songs like "How Long" certainly sound like great would-be radio hits.
Instead of releasing an entire album of new music, CJ Hilton has proceeded to release an additional new song almost every day of September, on Soundcloud under the name
. The 23 tracks on Soundcloud so far are a more mixed bag than the dozen on This Is Me, sometimes sounding like awkward attempts at finding an elusive crossover hit, like harsh trap anthem "Rain." Still, there are also gems like "Bassdrum" that rival anything on the proper album. It's hard to make much sense of this feast of music, nearly 40 songs in all. But whether he's simply clearing out his vaults, or attempting to jumpstart his career on an independent level, there's some great music here from a young talent who really deserves more attention than he's gotten so far.