From its opening moments, Javon Johnson’s latest EP The Outer Limits couches the Houston rapper’s street tales through an unusual lens. A recording of a conversation with an apparent suicide hotline counselor (which ends with Johnson hanging up after being asked if he’s going to seek help) sets an ominous tone for the subsequent four tracks. It plays like an end before the film begins, a broadcast from a mind broken by the violent, paranoid circumstances of Johnson’s Houston experience. Johnson’s eye for detail and tightly wound rapping shine as before on his EPs The Abyss and African American Terrorist, creating a sense of constant claustrophobia that delivers on the opening skit’s grim promise of harmful thoughts.

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