It may only be early June, but it's official: summer is here. As the weather turns hotter and the days stretch longer, upbeat pop music finds its way into poolside playlists and road trip soundtracks, so in a way, it's unfortunate that Group 1 Crew's third album Outta Space Love won't be releasing until September leaves warmer days behind. But that's where their new digital EP Spacebound comes in, a five song preview of their upcoming project that offers a little something to get through the season while marking a new phase in the Orlando trio's career.
This group's blend of hip-hop elements, pop leanings, and danceable beats adds up to a history that can most quickly be summed up in in four words: Christian Black Eyed Peas. Of course, that's only a surface comparison, but for better or worse, everything about their newest music, from the mix of rappers with a strong female lead to the funky rhythms and auto-tune flourishes, sounds quite similar to their mainstream counterpart's mega-hits from last year. And much like BEP's evolution from indie hip-hop to Top 40 staple, G1C's music has shifted along similar lines, their newest work built around accessible dance-pop party anthems that would feel just as at home on the dance floor as they would blasting out a car stereo on the way to the beach.
The opening track "Live it Up" kick-starts the EP with minimal synth beats and auto-tune laden harmonies before it launches in to a full-on party jam. It's basically a song about, well, having fun on the weekend. "Thank God it's Friday and it's 3pm" are the first words that set the tone for the songs to follow... not exactly deep poetry, but an undeniably catchy start that sets the pace for the rest of the EP.
Spacebound's best moments are found in the middle, starting with its most beautiful offering, "Walking on the Stars." This song builds and soars musically with some nice interplay between the vocalists, and Blanca Reyes' passionate singing especially shines, bringing wonderful balance to the album. Next up is "Manipulation," a high-energy club track that would feel right at home on any dance floor. It's the heaviest and fastest song of the bunch, and it showcases the rapping skills of all three members between driving choruses and almost chaotic tempo changes. Though opposites in style and delivery, these two tracks showcase the best of the new songs and a good bit of versatility.
Two more songs round out the EP, but don't quite deliver the same. "Breakdown" is another cool dance track with a memorable hook, but somehow it doesn't seem as fun as "Live it Up" or "Manipulation." Then there's "Beautiful," a song that arguably has the best lyrical message and a sweet, poppy sound that's reminiscent of classic Group 1 Crew. The lyrics encourage girls to see themselves as beautifully made by God, and Blanca's voice is great as always, but the chanting chorus of "I'm beautiful, so beautiful" and rap checklist of good girl qualities in the bridge is cheesy enough to wear thin rather quickly. It's a stark difference in sound to the driving energy of the earlier tracks, and perhaps that's why it doesn't end things on the strongest note.
In spite of a misstep or two, Spacebound is a decent entry into the summer season, and worth checking out for G1C fans eager for new music. The tight production and current sound fits right in with the mainstream's chart-topping styles, and "Manipulation" especially could stand on its own as a possible crossover club hit. Time will tell if the rest of Outta Space Love will continue in the vein of Top 40 radio fads or delve deeper into the substance hinted at in "Walking on the Stars," but will the trendy styles hold up when summer has faded? Hard to say, but in the meantime, at least it's a fun ride.
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Walking in the Breakdown| Posted June 18, 2010
As usual with Group 1 Crew, they don't disappoint. With the first single "Breakdown" released as an appetite-whetter a few weeks before the EP, I couldn't wait to see what else this group in my top favorites would dish out.
"Breakdown" is still my favorite from the album so far. "Live It Up" and "Manipulation" also offer fun party beats typical of a Group 1 Crew dance number. "Walking On The Stars" is, in my opinion, the most worshipful song on the EP.
As a huge Group 1 Crew fan, I'm definitely looking forward to the full album release in September, and I'm hoping for more of the close-to-God ballads that I've come to love from Group 1 Crew. My only prayer is that in their attempt to be recognized by mainstream, they will not dilute their message or downplay their heart for God.
May they keep walking on stars while holding His hand.
They're back...| Posted December 11, 2010
G1C released new music back into the hip-hop market on June 8th of 2010. And boy did they mean business.
From songs that would give The Black Eyed Peas a run for their money, to songs that are just plain original and entertaining, "Space Bound" is a fantastic EP that is definitely worthy of any collector of G1C or just good Hip-Hop, dance music.
The full album, "Outta Space Love", has since then come out and features all of the songs from this EP, plus some a few others. However, most all of the best songs off the full album can be found on this EP.
Want to dance to something morally positive yet still plain awesome? Look no further...
Group 1 Crew is back!
Group 1 Crew Strikes Again| Posted September 15, 2010
This is one of the best EP's I have ever heard. This EP is for people who like the Black Eyed Peas, but the cool thing about Group 1 Crew is that they gloryfie God with their lyrics . This EP has amazing upbeat songs such as the hit single “Break Down” then you've got “Manipulation” and “Live it up” which are probably the best Hip-Hop songs I have ever heard. Then to top ti all of you have a couple of songs with wonderful melodies such as “Walking on the Strars” and “Beautiful.”
So like I did you should go and buy this cd immedieately.
ep of the summer!| Posted June 11, 2010
i'm impressed- they keep getting better- the only group that is bringing this kind of positive music that in step with the current music trends! Live It Up/Manipulation both had elements of the music (changes in tempo/style) of current music like the BlackEyed Peas but in my opinion executed just alittle bit better. Breakdown is the weakest track of the album.