Each week, dozens of singles and a handful of projects are released in the Christian Hip-Hop (CHH) and Urban Soul spaces. Below, we listen to a few highlights and list the rest for your own discovery. As always, follow our New Christian Rap & Hip Hop playlist on Spotify to listen to all the latest.
Summer Was Canceled by Thi'sl One of the legends and OG's of CHH, St. Louis' own Thi'sl rounded up 2020 on a high note. Reppin' Full Ride Music, Thi'sl still releasing anthems for the streets bringing the name of Jesus with authority. He rarely sugarcoats content providing a bird's eye view of inner-city life. Violence, broken homes, drugs, children in need; problems few ever address. Instead of glorifying these situations, Thi'sl brings hope, life, and the grace of Jesus Christ. My highlighted track was "Midday Mess," an ode to Biggie Smalls and the classic "10 Crack Commandments." Thi'sl lays out a manual of advice on how to survive the streets with God on your side. The most appreciated aspect is the lack of track-laced tracks. Instead, each track has a refreshing soundscape especially prevalent on "Summer Was Canceled." The 4-track project showcases classic Thi'sl with a creative twist and I'm here for it. A solid project with an appeal to replay often.
Beautiful, Terrible by Eric Heron
Independent Texas rapper Eric Heron closes up 2020 with a compilation of his latest singles and a few new gems to share with his fanbase faithful. Six of the eight included tracks have been released prior to the album since the summer months. New tracks include "Fine!" and "The Middle." Highlighted tracks for me personally are "Murder She Wrote feat. Mcaiiah," "Sad Things," and "E.H." Heron is constantly overlooked as one of the elite artists in the space, however, continues to release quality project one after another for nearly the last 5-year period. Beautiful, Terrible stands out as one of his most personal lyrical journeys, yet possess sonically pleasing content. Nearly every track is a vibe of its own accord. The cover art alone is next level and a favorite to date. Heron even bridges out in a cultural sense on tracks like "Veneno" and "Murder She Wrote" with salsa, Latino subtones. As usual, Heron outdid himself between aesthetic rhyme schemes, sonic value, and radio friendliness. I could easily see any of the eight tracks gaining airplay on your favorite radio station in 2021. Keep Heron on your radar, as 2021 should be special for creative art.
Beleaf x Logan Histed feat. Sarah Juers - "We Gon' Find You Mr. Grinch (cover)"
Beleaf brought his own twist to a Christmas classic, "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch." One of the best, soulful indie artists, Sarah Juers, killed the chorus/hook of the track making it all that much better. Beleaf and Juers are two of my absolute favorites! "I heard that the Grinch did the worst thing / he took the toys from the Chocolate babies," is an ode to Beleaf's amazing four children. Being a week out from Christmas, I wanted to highlight a Christmas bop and this is definitely one to check out!