Saturday, 28 April 2012

'Slave Trade' - J. Miles (of iSix:5) (EP Review)

I picked up on iSix:5 after Shai Linne tweeted about them – enough of a cosign for me. Shai’s recommendation didn’t disappoint as the group’s music is rich in hermeneutical, theological exegesis of the bible.

On ‘Slave Trade’ iSix:5 member J. Miles continues in the group’s groove as he explores biblical ideas of slavery. The EP’s concept is adhered to closely throughout its 7 tracks and the project avoids the pitfall of becoming repetitive. Whilst the title may conjure up thoughts of civil rights movements, parliamentary reform and ongoing worldwide oppression, the material here delves beyond things of this world into the spiritual realm – everyone is a slave to one thing or another, when one stops being a slave to sin, they become a slave to Christ – a trade takes place. Romans chapter 6 presents the grounding for the teaching of J. Miles and his ‘Slave Trade’ EP:

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey —whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Closely linked to the concept of slavery is that of adoption. ‘Adoption’ (featuring Barabbas Da Rebel and J. Paul) explains very adeptly how the first readers of the letter to the Romans would have understood the concept of slavery and sonship. J. Miles and Barabbas present a concise history lessons on Roman citizenship and in the process they explain how these words in Romans 8:15 apply to us:

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

‘Identical Strangers’ starkly discusses sin and atonement before the summery beat of ‘Keep Your Heart’ (featuring Omri) catches the listener’s ear with its conversation on guarding one’s heart – the fact that J. Miles uses his last verse as an opportunity to reference scripture verses is heartening – here is a rapper striving to be faithful to God’s word, encouraging his listeners follow in the footsteps of the Bereans by testing what he is saying by scripture.

‘Love Letters’ (featuring Leah Smith) is a beautiful track which explains to 3 people (one being J. Miles’ then unborn son) that Jesus loves them and wants to make them new. ‘Kill It For His Glory’ (featuring JG) is a great last song as it encourages us, as slaves to righteousness, to do a good job of it. ‘Why?’ is a spoken word piece which draws together the ideas presented on the EP using scripture; J. Miles explains the gospel clearly and simply without watering down the message.

For what it’s worth, I will continue to champion music of this caliber. As my pastor explained this week, Hip Hop has the potential to convey a great many truths as it is a culture which revolves around using many words to convey meaning – this is why music such as J. Mile’s ‘Slave Trade’ EP must be made and why it should be heard.

Visit the iSix:5 website for more information.

Follow J. Miles on Twitter

Get Slave Trade on iTunes

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