Tuesday, 28 February 2012

'Rain' - Watson G/'Incredible Pre-Me' - Johnny Alpha

MCs from round my way Johnny Alpha and Watson G dropped some free music this week. Backed up by the beats of the UK's Imperial (Illect Recordings) the two MCs (both from Knew Jeru'slum) drop their testimonial rhymes over two pretty different productions.

Watson G's 'Rain' has a laid-back feel despite a fairly pacy sample of The Brothers Johnson's 'Strawberry Letter 23' (quality dancing on that video but Imperial informs me he sampled another version of the same song). Watson builds on the rain theme as he discusses his faith, failings and the hope he has. Favourite lyric is "It's cold man 'cause I need the sun/son, that's a double entendre..."; I just love the fact that he cheekily points out the dual meaning of the word sun as most rappers would do it, and not point it out, thinking that they were really clever for realising that sun and son are homophones (look it up, I'm a primary school teacher).

Johnny Alpha's offering is really open about his life before and after becoming a Christian. 'Incredible Pre-Me' is a lyrical-fest which still conveys its message clearly and the beat... well, it's just devastating - I love that bass drop and its general rowdiness. The chorus may even be this track's greatest feat - lyrical yet memorable, and it totally sums up the whole track - excellent: "This is the incredible pre-me, the pitiful me with an ego; capital E, the pre-me with unappeasable needs, with an unfeasible greed, did unspeakable deeds, yo!"

'Pale Blue Dot' - Mr. J. Medeiros

I really have not grasped everything that Mr. J. Medeiros' latest track 'Pale Blue Dot' has to say, but what I do know is that I love the song musically. As with all of Mr. J.'s output, the tracks need repeated listening in order to fully understand the ideas behind his profound poetry. Maybe I'll have to wait until he breaks the lyrics down on his blog, but it seems to me that he is mourning the corrupt state of the world we live in, particulary the state of those who claim falsely to be a force for good.

In Matthew 23 Jesus warns of hypocrisy. In those days Jesus was speaking about the Pharisees as a group of people, but now Christians are always in danger of being pharisaical. Jesus talks about how the pharisees do what looks right and seems good (v5-7) on the outside yet in reality, they do not actually "practice what they preach" (v3).

It's easy to point the finger in this world, to say who you believe to be a 'pharisee'. It's easy to identify those who are being hypocritical with their religion and beliefs. What's difficult is to identify those traits within oneself. Jesus says "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean." Which parts of your life (and indeed, I must ask myself this same question), look beautiful on the outside when in fact on the inside, there is the stench of death and decay.

As Christians, we must truly be a force for good; we musn't just assume that we are and we musn't merely try to make it look like we are. We must practice what we preach. O.K. so we don't intend to become suicide bombers, corrupt politicians or crooked bankers but Mr. J. Medeiros' musings should remind us that our actions as Christians, no matter how small, should line up clearly with the teachings of Jesus.

Monday, 20 February 2012

@pray4JGivens - #OccupyMondays

This here's the latest track in a series of downloads entitled #OccupyMondays that JGivens has been dropping each week.

The 7 tracks so far are a mixed bag in terms of production sound, but JGivens rocks anything with his super Neo Lyrical style (did I just coin a phrase or a genre there?). The guy is funny, in tune with culture and Hip Hop's history, and he says some thought-provoking things from a Christian perspective - what more could you want from an MC?

Here are some favourite quotes:

"Did Lazarus choose the air When He let it breathe, When Christ said come forth Like the letter D?" from 'But You Ain't Got No Legs, Lieutentant Dan'

"They transformed the Gospel to bad news, Egotistical legalist mystical ritual, Mixed with some bad views" from 'But You Ain't Got No Legs, Lieutentant Dan'
"And the pastor say If I can't find faith, Then droppin' a couple Yen will, So I'm staring at this gold plate, Thinking this gas money I got in my pocket, Will pay to get my soul straight, But I left feeling empty like the gas tank" from 'Un Nuovo Giorno'
"Kingdom affiliates, Bumpin' Scribbling Idiots, Saved by His grace, We couldn't master Leviticus, I started out with "Homie, just blaze and take a hit of this", Now I'm on this "Give Him praise because He finished it" from 'Kill Bill Collectors'
"Rep Christ 'til we die, Lift His name like stilettos, Lion of Judah schoolin' the Nazarene ghetto, Millenium falcon pouncin' on these rebels, Your little violins got nothing on these cellos" from 'Caught in the Reign'
"Everybody praying asking, "Kingdom, come quick", The Gospel is, "The Kingdom is here, it's at fist!", Well technically at hand, Connected to that wrist, Where they pierced the Lamb Betrayed Him with that kiss" from 'Caught in the Reign'
"Holy Ghost be revealed in Romans 10:9, Cuz Satan's infiltrating this wedding Like Vince Vaughn" from 'Caught in the Reign'
"Ignorance harbors the monopoly It started with Socrates, Now fools is copying these prophecies" from 'Atrium'
Hop over to the J Givens Bandcamp site for all these tracks and more (his 'Run' album and his '#keepPraying4 @kanyewest MIXTAPE' - both are excellent).

Saturday, 18 February 2012

'American Idolatry' - Jeremiah Bonds (album review)

Another review at SOHH. It's pretty much all I have time for these days, which renders this blog pretty useless (but then I only get about one visit a week), but at least I'm doing something.

Loved this 'Street Album' by Jeremiah Bonds:

"The well-executed concept and the excellent musical selection make this project hard to knock. The serious subject matter is made palatable, no, more than that, entertaining..."

Click here to read the full review and click here to download 'American Idolatry' for free!

In other news: due to the fact that I'm a serial blog starter I have created a new blog, possibly a sister blog to this one, called Clean Cuts. Clean Cuts is dedicated to finding positive Hip Hop music which contains no swearing, derogatory terms or reference to negative themes such as sex, violence and drug use. The URL is:

Friday, 3 February 2012

Latest Reviews

More reviews from the one like myself. All written for Sphere of Hip Hop.com so click the links to read the whole review:

theBREAX - 'Never Arrive' "the group are very adept at avoiding creating derivative music – in simple terms, their output is creative and fresh."

116 Clique - 'Man Up' "Most of the bible’s story has something to say on manliness and its David’s advice to Solomon in 1 Kings 2 that sums up the group’s admirable purpose: “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses.”"

Tha G.I.M. - 'Supreme' "Supreme acts as a reminder of the basics of our faith – almost like a Hip Hop catechism."