Friday, 29 July 2011

Christian Hip Hop #1 @

What's currently number one on's most downloaded Hip Hop and Rap charts? Eminem? Beastie Boys? Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa? You'da thought so wouldn't you?

Currently sitting in that number one spot is Illect Recordings' Mind The Rap Vol. 1' compilation. Not far behind it at number four is 'Mind The Rap Vol. 2'. It's also worth noting that This'l's 'Beautiful Monster' is there in third place and Lecrae's almost-year-old 'Rehab' is still on the first page at number 22. All Christian Hip Hop releases.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

- Matthew 28:18-20

The Great Commission; CHH is doing it. God is using these artists. Let's pray that with these prominent positions unbelievers will download these projects (the Illect ones are free!) and hear God's name glorified and Christ preached. Pray also that if people are touched by this music that they will seek further guidance from the Bible and Church. Pray that the Spirit of God will work in their lives.

'Mind The Rap Vol. 1' features music from Scribbling Idiots, Deepspace5, JustMe, Peace 586, Cas Metah, Sintax The Terrific, Ajax Starglider and Freddie Bruno among others.

Now, would just love to see this happen in the UK too! If you're not in the US and can't get those downloads for free then check out Illect's Bandcamp page where you can get them for 99 cents each (about 62p in the UK).

'Cry No More' - Cross Movement

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

Revelation 21:1-4

Are you looking forward to death? Are you genuinely excited about the new heavens and the new earth? In honesty, it's probably not something we think about very often even though it is our great hope and it is the gift we've been given through Christ's death and resurrection.

I'm always thankful for Cross Movement's 'Cry No More' from their 'Holy Culture' album. It's one of my favourite Hip Hop tracks and it reminds me every time that, although we don't know a great deal about what heaven will actually be like, and what we do know is hard for us to picture because we only have earthly experiences, "We're going to a place that'll be much better than now". Whatever it will be like, there won't be all the awful things that there are in this world - things which sin has created.

Thank God that the former things will pass away. I'm so glad that despite the many, many blessings God has bestowed on me here in this life I'll be leaving it one day because nothing here can be perfect.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Uprok Records LP Covers Love

No music, no musings today; just a sharing of my love for some album covers. With the exception of 'Tunnel Vision' by the Tunnel Rats all of these albums came out on Uprok Records ('Tunnel Vision' came out on Uprok's parent label 'Tooth and Nail') in the noughties. I'd love to see more covers in this vein - surely we can have a revival? Albums in the slideshow are New Breed's 'Stop The Music', Sev Statik's 'SpeakLife', Peace 586's 'Generations', Tunnel Rats' 'Tunnel Vision' and Underground Rise's 'Sunrise/Sunset'.

'Rehab' - Lecrae (Review)

Once again the scoring might need explaining and once again I would say the overall score out of 10 is fitting.

We discussed the fact that this is a very commercial sounding release (which has its plus points as I pointed out in the review) and that although topically it's rich in the message of the Gospel, lyrically it is more simplistic than a lot of other Christian Hip Hop releases.

Part of it is probably a preference thing too. This style of Hip Hop is not what I'd choose to listen to (which is why I hadn't picked it up before) but I was blessed, encouraged and reminded of some important truths whilst listening to this album. Also, as I said in the review, some of the songs are very catchy and I still find myself singing them now!

One of the tracks that really caught my attention was 'Used To Do It Too'. The lyrics from the last verse are really relevant to me:

"You see Satan uses guilt to strip away our hope,
He shows us our mistakes and tells us we're a joke,
I used to sit and mope like what's the point in all,
If I'm a Christian how come everyday I seem to fall,
But I ain't know that all my sins were nailed upon the cross,
I found this out in chapter 2 in the Book of Colossians,
See the devil's a liar, yeah he's an accuser,
He tells me I'm worthless, he says I'm a loser,
But now I refuse to let him lead me wrong,
Reading the Word in the morn got me feeling strong,
I found my worth in Christ and I'm pursuing truth,
A living testimony so you can do it too."

My next review will be of Lecrae's follow up album 'Rehab: The Overdose'.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

'The Forerunner EP' - Stephen the Levite (Review)

Now you've read it, let me explain my ratings. At SOHH releases are given marks out of 5 for both lyrics and production, they are then added to give an overall score out of 10. I gave 4 for production and 3.5 for lyrics. The production score needs no explanation however the lyrics score might seem a little stingy.

I personally did not like the track 'Shrink Me' although I appreciate its sentiment and that it is pretty well written in terms of spoken word poetry. I also don't agree with the pre-trib stand point that Stephen adopts on the track 'Slept In?'. For me, although lyrically both were good, these were things that meant I couldn't give fuller marks in the category of lyrics (obviously the production score remains unscathed as a result of these two points).

An overall score of 7.5 out of 10 I think is a good assessment of the EP because it is pretty good - all the other tracks are very solid in content and style. If I had assessed just the four other tracks I would honestly say that for lyrics I would give 9 or even 10 out of 10.

Going back to the theme of 'Slept In?' Stephen the Levite writes humbly about his views on the track and its content on his blog here.