Group 1 Crew has been through so much in these last two years and I truly feel that all of the experiences and emotions from that period are captured in every track on Fearless. Whether it was marriage, loss, transition in our group or new beginnings, all of them had a part in this new album. God has shown me in this chapter of life that no matter what the journey may look like, He is there and will never leave me or forsake me. So as I continue on this journey of life, I’ll strive more and more each day to live Fearless,” Blanca comments.
“In making this record, we dug deep into the God of our universe and found that he had us exactly where he wanted us, even if we couldn’t see it. He was telling us we had nothing to fear. So we made a record that reflected that exact revelation: Fearless,” added Manwell.
As noted by Blanca and Manwell, the title and theme of the record, Fearless, arose from a turbulent period for the group. While creating the album, they faced numerous challenges including evolving from a trio to a duo, the passing of Blanca’s father and learning how to balance newlywed life with a heavy touring schedule. Blanca and Manwell confronted these tests and have emerged stronger than ever before. Fearless takes listeners on a lyrical journey through the truths that they faced over the past couple years.
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Group 1 Crew [Fearless]| Posted September 04, 2012 As noted by Blanca and Manwell of Group 1 Crew, the title and theme of the record, Fearless, arose from a turbulent period for the group. While creating the album, they faced numerous challenges including evolving from a trio to a duo, the passing of Blanca’s father and learning how to balance newlywed life with a heavy touring schedule. Blanca and Manwell confronted these tests and have emerged stronger than ever before.Fearless takes listeners on a lyrical journey through the truths that they faced over the past couple years.
Regarding recent number one hit song "He Said" featuring Chris August, complete confidence in and reliance upon the grace of God is the theme of this great new song. God has called Christians to become mature and complete, as first fruits of all He created. This is so high a calling and so valuable an attainment that we may consider even trials along the way pure joy! The three singers blend perfectly and bring home the biblical truth of the song--that God will never leave or forsake us. This song really has an uplifting message and challenges listeners to think about whether they are trusting God in times of trouble. Are we understanding that God won’t give us more than we can handle and know that sometimes trials are meant to refine us and draw us closer to God? Like in the hymn “Refiner’s Fire”—we are meant to be refined to be more like Jesus and as the song reminds us, “Don't you forget what He said!” Amen!
What’s especially cool about “He Said” is how by featuring Chris August in the song, this truly is a departure from the hip-hop style of the band and will remind you of some of August’s hit contemporary songs like “Battle” and “Starry Night” while still featuring Manwell’s and Blanca’s signature harmonies and bold Gospel message. For me, that’s a notable distinction on every song from this great new album. Some of the songs reflecting biblical messages include “His Kind Of Love,” “The Difference,” “Dangerous,” “Fearless,” “Not The End of Me” and “Steppin’ Out.” Each of these songs features lyrics professing reliance on God such as in “His Kind of Love”—“This is our God, He is strong and His mercy is our song.” The blend of Blanca and Manwell’s vocals on “Dangerous” is a highlight as Blanca belts out: “Whatever it takes, I want You to make, make me more like You... I want to live dangerous.” Also in the bridge of “Fearless”—“If You’re with me, who can be against me.” For those looking for Group 1 Crew’s more traditional hip-hop dance style, that can be found in “Goin’ Down,” “Darkest Valley,” which features poignant and personal lyrics based on Psalm 23, “Night Of My Life” and “Freq Dat.”
Fearless is truly is a departure from the hip-hop style of the band and are musically more in the style of “He Said” and “Walking On The Stars” with Blanca’s strong vocals prominently featured. For me, this is a welcome change as I’ve always enjoyed her vocals and each of these songs is a potential radio hit. Each song also features a bold Gospel message, like in their hit song “Keys To The Kingdom.” For me, that’s a notable distinction on every song from this great new album. As much as I enjoyed the catchy melodies from Outta Space Love, every song is Gospel message focused on Fearless. As “He Said” rose to the top of the charts, I expect several of these songs to also resonate with radio listeners, especially “His Kind Of Love,” “The Difference,” “Dangerous,” “Fearless,” “Not The End of Me” and “Steppin’ Out.”
Fearless| Posted December 28, 2012
Group 1 Crew faced some diffucult times but are now in the sun. The duo came out with their fourth album full of worship, thankfulness, and praise to God. If you love Group 1 Crew, you should get this album and you won't regret it.
G1C is Fearless| Posted September 25, 2012
For their first full-length album since the departure of rapper Pablo Villatoro, Christian hip hop/dance/pop group (now duo Manwell Reyes and Blanca Callahan) G1C have returned with Fearless an album that nicely balances their hip hop and rap roots with the dance sounds they explored on their last record, Outta Space Love, as well as their newfound pop and AC success explored on first single (and last single from their Outta Space Love: Bigger Love Edition re-release) "He Said". As expected, there is less rapping and more singing to be found on Fearless than on any previous record- credit that to Pablo's exit (both Blanca and Manwell alternated between singing and rap while Pablo only rapped) and Blanca's voice is especially in high form as she has truly improved on her craft over the last two years and is quickly becoming one of the finest vocalists in the industry (for further evidence, see the title cut and "The End of Me", "Stepping Out" or "Forsaken").
The album oscillates fairly evenly between pop songs and more hip-hop leaning material. The opener "His Kind of Love" may shock long-time fans as it is pure worship-based pop but follow-up track "The Difference" (which IMO should have been the opening song) brings it back home to classic G1C with its tight beats and multi-layered programming and vocals. Lyrically, G1C spend the bulk of the album digging deeper into their faith than their last record and while nothing here has as much theological content as "Keys to the Kingdom" or "Forgive Me", Solid biblical encouragement rings loud and clear through many tracks including "Forsaken", "Darkest Valley", "Stepping Out", "Dangerous" and the aforementionsed "He Said", "His Kind of Love" and "The Difference". "The Darkest Valley" invites a couple of guests including Reach Records star rapper Flame and a little known Gospel artist Thomas Ware (who also co-wrote "Forsaken"- lookout for this guys folks, he's going places) and together they create one of the coolest moments on the album.
A couple of relationship songs pop up near the middle (both Blanca and Manwell have recently married) "Mr & Mrs" is a cute ditty that reinforces the singer's commitment to their spouses (and musically is in the vein of their hit single "Let's Go") while "The End of Me" is a break-up song that reminds me of something Beyonce would take to #1. The remaining party tracks definitely "bring the party" musically, the best of which being "Going Down" but two tracks near the end of the record cause a bit of concern. While musically the rap based "Freq Dat" and club ready "Night of My Life" are fun songs, the lyrics are very secular and frankly unbiblical. "Night of My Life" declares "I'd trade each day of my week away just to have the time of my life" (what happened to redeeming the time?) while "Freq Dat" brags about that very "night of their life" in the club and on the dance floor as Manwell asks the ladies to "let me see you dance". Also, it should be noted that while the term "Freq Dat" is most likely referring to the beats a DJ is throwing down, I tend to remember friends from school using this term as a substitute for a much more vulgar phrase. While nothing too troubling may occur in these two songs, Christianity Today music reviewer Andrew Greer had a good point when he stated that these "benign party jams threaten to counteract the group's strong lyrical convictions."
Overall, I believe that this is a step in the right direction for G1C. They have grown tremendously in the lyrical department from their last album (aside from a couple songs) and musically are finding a successful way to remain relevant to both Christian Radio and their fanbase all while continuing to push CCM into bolder musical territories. Hopefully Fearless will be the album that brings Group 1 Crew into the mainstream of CCM because we all know that Christian radio is in desperate need of some variety and this album has the potential singles that could do just that.
Radio Ready: "He Said", "His Kind of Love", "Fearless", Stepping Out", "Forsaken", "Dangerous" ("The Difference", "The End of ME" or "Going Down" could do great at mainstream radio if they want to explore that area of the industry)
iPod Picks: "His Kind of Love", "Forsaken", "He Said", "Darkest Valley", "Fearless", "The Difference", "Going Down", "Stepping Out", "Not the End of Me"