Sound The Alarm
Posted June 04, 2012
By MicahGarnett_NRT, Staff Reviewer
I had heard of Rhema Soul before, but it was only after RED came out that I finally gave them a serious listen. And boy, am I glad that I did.
The album opens with the sonic assault of the title track. Veteran emcees Butta-P, JuanLove, and K-Nuff hold nothing back as they share their hearts for reaching out to people. The song features an all-too-brief and gritty verse by southern rapper Thi’sl, which may be one of his best features to date. His small addition to the track is a memorable one which greatly enhances the track.
Rhema Soul shows their range with lead single No Walking Away, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. The radio friendly song leans more toward rock than their usual hip hop, while at the same time failing to deliver a catchy hook or memorable chorus. Luckily the next track Danger remedies this problem, being the most straight up hip hop song on the album. Each emcee gets a chance to shine, but Butta-P clearly stands out with a verse that could hold up against Nicki Minaj.
The next three tracks are three of the album’s best. On War, Rhema Soul talks about the war in the streets for the souls of our children and families. The song is extremely hopeful, and Benjah adds a catchy chorus that will surely be stuck in your head for days. Need An Answer relies heavily on dubstep, along with Off The Edge. The latter starts off slow, but builds up to an epic chorus and bridge.
So Beautiful allows Butta-P to have a song of her own. Directed at girls (although the concept could be applied to anyone struggling with image issues and low self-esteem), the lyrics are cliche, but they no doubt mean well and are sure to impact someone’s life. On My Way continues the theme of self empowerment, reminding the listener that bad things happen to everyone, and we shouldn’t be bogged down by our mistakes. Celebration is simply a fun song set to a massive but repetitive beat. I can picture this song being great live, but on the album it’s nothing special. A bit too forgettable.
Musically, Break Out is another radio friendly song with a weak chorus. Lyrically it continues the theme of On My Way. Not Forgotten sounds like a filler song, although I was a huge fan of the upbeat, positive message. It speaks from the perspective of someone who feels left behind while everyone around them is out living their dreams. Listening to it always puts a smile on my face. Moment In Time, while back to their hip hops roots, is another filler. There’s nothing memorable about this song. No hook, no catchy chorus, no outstanding verses.
Rhema Soul saves their best song for last with the club ready anthem Stop The World From Spinning. The silky smooth vocals from guest artist Shonlock along with fantastic verses and a dubstep breakdown make this song the album highlight, and one of my favorite songs in recent memory. If you buy one song off the album, this should be it.
There’s something for everyone on RED, from rap to pop to rock, and even a little bit of dubstep. The sheer diversity of the album detracts from the overall cohesiveness, while adding a lot of replay value. Overall, Rhema Soul cements themselves as one of the best Christian hip hop groups alongside Group 1 Crew and Superherose. By the end of the year I’m sure RED will still be in my regular rotation. It’s that good. If you’re a fan of Group 1 Crew or The Black Eyed Peas, I highly recommend checking this album out. There are a few weak tracks, but the strong tracks more than make up for them. Don’t miss out on this one.
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