Proof of Progress| Posted June 09, 2015
Eighteen months after his mixtape Revert, Roy Tosh is back with his latest full length album Death Before Love. In my review of Revert, I said that "Roy Tosh will definitely be an artist we will be hearing more from." Well, I hate to say I told you so, but...
Death Before Love contains the same strength that Revert did and to that adds stronger lyricism, stronger production and a new level of polish that was missing from the last album.
The album starts with "Dream On," a fresh take on offering thanksgiving for the blessings in his life. The bass line is smooth, and Tosh's flow automatically shows growth from his last album. With Benjah as friend, mentor and producer pushing him to be better, the first track shows the work that has been put into perfecting his craft.
Things go hard on "Never Die." If you need an anthem to drive you in the gym or on your run this summer, add this song to your playlist. As good as "One" is, I found myself going back through my library to figure out where I heard it before. The message is strong, talking about the one and only true God and how it is critical that the Church stay united, but the song sounds like "Problem" by Chad Jones and "Ten" by Tedashii got together and had a baby hip hop track.
Tosh teams up with Alex Faith on "Ridin'." This track is pure, hard-hitting trap from the dirty south. Things slow down a little with "Saturday" and "Abba." J Paul's vocals on "Saturday" add another layer to the album, while Beckah Shae's voice brings a beautiful worship vibe on "Abba." If you find yourself alone and struggling with self-worth or identity issues, "Abba" is a track that will speak to the deepest part of your soul and remind you that "You can cry Abba Father."
The title track, "Death Before Love," reminds us that true love cannot exist in us until we die to self. The gospel message is shared with strength and conviction. "Domino" is a song that is a fresh take on Proverbs 7 and the issues that lust can cause in your life. It is a bold move to speak truth like this. To all the parents out there, there is nothing graphic in the song, though it could raise questions in the minivan.
The album closes with "Take Off." This upbeat track will have you bobbing your head and getting you moving in your seat, and if you are listening you may even abandon the comfort of your seat and bust a move.
Closing Thoughts: Death Before Love is proof positive that Christian Hip Hop is growing in quality. Honestly, it gets more difficult with each album reviewed to pick out the cream of the crop. Fans of Christian Hip Hop will enjoy this album. Tosh proves to this cynic that he has staying power. To see growth in a young artist from one album to the next proves that he is not satisfied with staying in one spot, but is striving to improve his skills. With a small bit of a lull in the hip hop releases lately, this album will get you your bass fix and keep you going until the next one.
Song to Download Now:
"Abba ft. Beckah Shae" (Get it on iTunes here.)