The Cross Movement: Phanatik, The Tonic, Tru-Life, The Ambassador. Producers include: Kevin Arthur, Lee Jerkins, DJ Official, The Tonic, Virgil Byrd. While the gospel/worship music scene has seen its fair share of crossover artists, few of these have attempted to set their Christian message to a hip-hop beat. Even fewer have successfully rapped about Christianity (visions of THE SIMPSONS' Ned Flanders engaging in a vain attempt at some street cred come to mind). But on HOLY CULTURE, their fourth CD, self-styled Philadelphia "rescue squad" The Cross Movement accomplish what had previously seemed an impossible feat--Christian rap music that contains imagination, vitality, and street smarts, with echoes of both the Old Testament and the Last Poets. The Movement weaves a sonic tapestry in which street politics, social mores, and religion are inextricably intertwined, a worldview best typified in the anthemic "Cry No More" and the self-descriptive, Middle Eastern-inflected "When I Flow (It's Gospel)." Intriguing production flourishes abound, not only serving to frame the collective's religious message in a contemporary framework, but also underlining their artistic and musical flow. Though HOLY CULTURE's overt religiosity won't be setting the clubs on fire anytime soon, there is much for even the most die-hard hip-hop enthusiast to admire here.
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