This album includes production credits from Wit, Swoope, Big Juice, Michael Guaglione, Wes Pendleton, and Tragic Hero. The album also includes track features from Christon Gray, Propaganda, Tragic Hero, Michael Guaglione, Sean Johnson, Swoope, and Alex Faith. Many track samples are used from We Live As Kings and Christon Gray. The album touches on various themes that are intended to uproot today's Christian culture, show the world that Christianity is a life of struggle, and life in general is never easy but there is always hope in a God who loves us and is in ultimate control.
The album opens with "Sutter's Mill". Like Lecrae, Trip Lee, KB, JSon and many others, Dre Murray decides to open his album with an introduction track as well. This song is all about discovering a purpose in life or discovering success in life. It provides a certain kind of "gold rush" but also sets us up for a prideful life without God. Thus begins the album's uprooting of our current culture via a modern-style beat on this intro track.
The next track is "Maybe One Day" featuring Christon Gray. Produced by Swoope, this was one of the first songs recorded for the album. The idea of Dre Murray closing his eyes on the cover; the idea is that maybe one day we can find God instead of acting like we are gods, ourselves. The lyrics are based upon the struggles in Egypt, the captivity of God's people, and how God reached out to them yet they still ignored Him and lived lives of captivity in the desert. Relating it to how we live today, we are naturally captives of a broken world and often ignore God's reaching out to us in our individual lives. This song's idea is an overview piece of what the whole album is about. Musically speaking, Christon Gray blows us away with one of his best performances yet on a track hitting all the right, very high notes.
"Ramesses the Great" is an interlude track that features Propaganda throwing down genius lyrics that really make the listener think on a deeper level about even noticing their gold/money/possessions when they are dead in the grave; would we even notice? The song, "Pharaoh" explodes from the interlude with a Tragic Hero hook revolving around the idea of pharaohs. Dre Murray did research on the culture of Egypt, pharaohs, and the history behind mummies before the album was even in it's rough draft format; this is where the idea of the album came from. The song is about every day people going through their every day lives and their modern day pharaohs. The track's beat is very modern yet has the old Egyptian style feel to it.
One of the more contemplating themes is that of "Fiend". This song really makes you think. It combines the dreams of modern day society with the dreams of religious circles and succeeds at hitting the contemplative nail on the head. Who really needs to be fixed, the world or ourselves? Who is the real fiend? "Benjamin's Curse" starts off with another Christon Gray sample to get us quickly interested but carries on the same message of the previous track. You guessed it: by "Benjamin", Dre Murray is referring to our obsession with money. The production is clever in this track as Wit provides the continuing message but also mixes in another interlude of lyrical savvy. Swoope literally swooped in with the second part of the production and shows off his production's muscles by the use of slow-pitch to high-pitch recording. If you like the artistry of today's unique and different Christian hip hop, then you'll love this duo of a two part-produced track.
"Gold Rush" is this album's theme track. Dre Murray seems to throw curve balls yet again by taking us on a testimony journey of his own personal life. This song may cause you to think: why are the lyrics so cryptic in this album? According to Dre Murray, it is a part of his authenticity, spiritual testimony, and he loves to create conversation topics in his music. "I don't produce music for the critics. I do music and visuals to communicate God's truth. I can't waste time on the argument when life is hard and many hurting people need to hear God's truth," says Dre Murray. The use of personal testimony pierces deep in the authentic beat of this track and continues to spark the thoughts of what Dre Murray is really talking about when he delves deep within the confines of a modern "gold rush".
The second half of the album kicks off with yet another Christon Gray feature in "Red Light". Hey, I'm not complaining; even Dre Murray remarks, "Christon Gray is GOLD in anything we use of his". The verses of this track were originally to a different hook but when Christon Gray came in, they decided to change the hook entirely. Dre Murray had this to say about the track, "The things of our past we think about, are tempted by, but instead of running the red light we wait for God to get us through those hardships and temptations. In the military, they say that when the sky is red the battle is over. Seeing the red light makes you think about how you thought your life of sin was good but then thank God as to where you are today." Musically the track is overloaded with an audience feel. It is the kind of song you really want to sing with, especially in the chorus. This was the very last song produced on the album.
Tragic Hero makes a reprisal feature of his unique vocal production on "Alchemy". Just when you thought your mind was full, Dre Murray turns up the lyrical depth to an even deeper, higher level. The song is all in the title and Dre Murray's verses are pure art in this original piece. Musically, again the production is taken to a far more impressive level. The same can be said about Michael Guaglione's feature on "Letter in a Bottle". The music is absolutely beautiful with the piano notes and drum rolls. As for the lyrics, if you have ever been a victim of alcohol addiction you will definitely connect well with this song. And even if you haven't fallen victim to alcohol consumption, Dre Murray somehow delivers an emotional blow to the heart as if you could somehow understand the heartache without actually being in an alcoholic's shoes.
"Hollywood Heist" is a laid back banger-type/freestyle track that features Christon Gray on a verse, Sean Johnson on the hook, and a surprise treat coming from Swoope making a rare appearance on the piano keys towards the end of the track. This track's jazzy background originally comes from an old school hip hop track and knowing this combined with the musical redone masterpiece is truly a gold rush on it's own. Meanwhile, "Welcome to My Life" is also a banger-type track but is more forward with it's "oomph" by featuring Swoope and Alex Faith along with Dre Murray in voice-versing their lives in high definition. Once again, a We Live As Kings sample is used to be redone with a different lyrical message. If you like Andy Mineo, Lecrae, KB, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Thi'sl, or any other CHH artist that loves to drench their tracks in high bass, you will immediately fall in love with this track.
"All Alone" is my pick for the most beautiful part of this album and sticks out all on it's own. Letting loose from all other forms of average hip hop, Dre Murray goes raw with this one. He also goes in deep and wraps up the theological metaphors with fierce fire. No words can explain this track's authenticity.
"Gray Tape" is Dre Murray's favorite beat on the album and he uses it to wrap the album up in a final point. When hearing the raw remixed, slowed down beat of Long Way Down from We Live As Kings, he immediately thought of Houston. Before there were mp3s and iPhones, there were cassette tapes. A company called Maxwell created a tape called Gray Tape. A DJ named "DJ Screw" was hanging out with some friends in Houston and slowed down the music they were listening to so that he and his friends could freestyle; therefore, slowing down the music to freestyle is known as "gray taping". This song is based upon how God has slowed down Dre Murray's life to help him see his devilish ways and evil heart. These times in Houston made Dre Murray realize how much he needed Christ. Houston is all fast-paced and Dre Murray was getting into trouble but God slowed down Dre Murray's life so that change could occur and Dre Murray could ultimately find Christ. Though we are on a high speed chase to victory, God slows us down to help us see that He has already won. Like gray tape we cannot win without Him and that means slowing down to make the necessary changes in the flawed details of our own individual lives.
"The making of this record has brought about purpose in my life from God. I am very confident in my spiritual walk because of this record and God's leading in my life as a result of it," remarks Dre Murray. What most people don't know is that about 90% of this album had to be redone because Wit's studio had technical issues that lost most of the material. Therefore, Dre Murray asked for assistance from various producers and novice production from various fans and individuals. This has most recently changed the whole Christian hip hop picture. Dre Murray's production is off the charts in this album because of this very reason. Many others have picked up on this idea therefore making this album a game changer in the Christian hip hop industry. What can we look forward to? Well, for starters, look for Church Clothes; Vol. II by Lecrae to be released using a very similar production style.
"The Church Clothes movement is all about researching the culture of Christianity in a world of false Christianity, what it believes, and then showing the public to the fullest extent the flaws of the culture and what needs to be fixed in this modern day. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis starts from the basics, the bottom, and really searches for the answers God is constantly trying to show us by extending this research to the rest of the world, both Pagan and Christian."
What we have to look forward to from the CHH industry we can already start to look back at and thank Dre Murray, Gold Rush: Maybe One Day, Collision Records, and the many artists who have already released ground-breaking albums not only this year but have yet to release even more life changing albums in the years to come. Dre Murray's Gold Rush: Maybe One Day is another 5 star brick in a beautiful Michaelangelo-type building solely inspired by God, Himself.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy this album as the unfolding movie film it truly is. You will want to listen to it over and over and over again to catch the things you missed the first few times you listened. I give it 2 jammin' thumbs up! What do you think?
Song to Download Now:
"Maybe One Day (feat. Christon Gray)" (Get it from iTunes here)