|Full Circle | Posted August 28, 2013
The first review I wrote for NewreleaseTuesday.com was for Rapzilla's first project, King Kulture. Now here I stand again, reviewing the latest project, King Kulture: Stop The Traffic. Just as my knowledge of Christian Hip Hop has grown, so has Rapzilla's ability to put together a solid compilation. This project tackles the very real issue of sex trafficking, and proceeds from sales of the album will benefit a great organization based in and focused on NYC called NYCUP (New York City Urban Project).
The album features 16 tracks by some of the hottest acts in Christian Hip Hop as well as from new up and comers. The album opens with "First World Problems" from brand new artist Kidd. More than a hashtag on social media, "First World Problems" speaks to real issues. Although Kidd only raps two short verses for this opening track, we quickly hear why he is making a name for himself: "Y'all dyin for Js / They dyin' from aids / Look for the Prince of Peace solution is found in the name Jesus." It is a solid opening track with an African feel underneath a solid beat.
Flame shows up next with "Cashews"— an odd title for a song at first glimpse. At closer listen, the song speaks to the transformation of the mind of sin life to saved life and the non-Christians' view that when a person accepts Christ, it seems as though they've gone nuts.
This transitions into the organic sound of Alert312 on "Murmurs." The lyrical athleticism of Boogalu is front and center. The sound changes completely from the organic beats to a more electro sound on "Show Them" by Skrip, and then to a piano driven track for "We Win" by Rhema Soul.
The piano vibe continues with "Over The Edge" by MC Jin, featuring the vocal talents of Dawen. This song is about dependance on God, and how at times when we feel like going over the edge, we can trust in the Savior to bring us back. The lyrics speak of love, hope and light.
Things start to get a little more real with "First Date" by Gowe. The song talks of a girl's experience with being disrespected and used, and her transformation when she realizes that a true gentleman exists in the person of Jesus Christ. From worthlessness to pricelessness.
If you have a weak stomach or are easily offended by the horrors of the commercial sex trade and sexual abuse of children, then you may want to skip "What Will It Take" by spoken word artist Janette...ikz (pronounced Genetics). This is ten minutes of raw emotion and at times extremely graphic. On first listen I tweeted that after three minutes I was enraged at the human condition. My wife lasted two minutes. It is that real and raw.
Andy Mineo gets the title track, "Stop The Traffic." The rawness continues. The song speaks to the condition of the sex trade and sex trafficking in general, but within the song, Mineo reminds fathers how important it is that they love their daughters and affirm them as beautiful women so that they do not run to other men for that affirmation. Co Campbell features on the chorus and his voice plays perfectly off of Mineo's.
Superstar women of Christian Hip Hop are up next with Butta P and V. Rose on "Rescue Me." It is a call to action to help the girls caught in this lifestyle. I cannot begin to describe the emotions evoked by this song.
No hip hop artist speaks for the unspoken for like Sho Baraka. "Tomorrow" is for the lost and forgotten. A simple lyric at the end of the first verse, "despite our ignorant mistakes, when we place faith in the Lord he will bring grace", says it all. After we put our faith in Christ and tomorrow is here, we are "Rejuvenated." Json, Future and Derek Minor deliver the next track with precision. The song bangs hard and proclaims our new identity in Christ. Young Chozen delivers his message on identity with his signature sound on "Royalty."
From banging hip hop in to a dance vibe, Canton Jones brings it on "Runway." This song may be the weakest moment on the album. Thematically it fits, but sonically it feels forced into the album. Relative newcomer HilaryJane delivers the goods on "Not For Sale." Watch out for more from this female artist from Houston.
The album closes with Propaganda bringing it as only Propaganda does with "Healthy Don't Need Doctors." It will leave you questioning what you're doing to be part of the solution.
The folks over at Rapzilla.com have nailed this compilation. 15 out of 16 tracks can solidly stand on their own, each one espousing top production values and lyrical content. There is something for everyone on this album. Whatever style of hip hop you are into, you will find it here. It provides a great introduction to lesser known artists while giving us the taste of some of the biggest names in the genre right now.
Some people may be put off by the realism and rawness of some of the tracks, but just because an album is truly representative of Christ doesn't always mean that it is family friendly. There are some tracks on this album that may not be suitable for inquiring minds in the minivan. I appreciate the album from top to bottom and the emotions that it evokes, especially as a parent to three young girls who may be victims if they weren't born into the situation they were.
Song to Download Now:
"Stop The Traffic" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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