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 and Apple Music to listen to all the latest.
Restless by Corey Wise
Indie Maryland rapper Corey Wise returns with his fourth album release after dropping seven singles throughout 2021. Wise has always been quite raw, vulnerable, and transparent with his music. Lyrics are pulled from real-life struggles, situations, and emotions experienced. He’s dealt with more than any young male should expect to handle. The beautiful thing about his writing and transfer of emotions from the heart to penned words is God’s love and strength are smothered all over it. Yes, listeners will hear the pain, hurt, destruction, and tears. However, fans will also hear grace, mercy, love, and God’s Will as the answer defined in hope and promises.
Standout tracks include “Broken!” featuring OutaTime!, “Meet Me In Gethsemane,” “Hard Times Don’t Last,” and “My Third Day” featuring Genuine. Not many artists compile 18 tracks for a concept album, but the length was necessary to explicitly tell Wise’s story sprawled over valleys, mountains, defeat, and victory. One unique feature of the album is the incorporation of the rock element behind most tracks. It reminds old heads like me of the days of Stellar Kart, Relient K, Green Day, and iconic grudge punk rock bands of yesteryear.
From a production standpoint, we get a blend of harmonies, random piano runs, acoustic appearances, guitar riffs, trap drums, melodic echoes, and tempo changes when you least expect it. It’s raw, refreshing, and a complete change of course from what the CHH space delivers. It’s the rock and hip-hop infusion I’ve dreamt of since days of Thousand Foot Krutch, Linkin Park, P.O.D., and Limp Bizkit. Stream Restless on Spotify here.
Philidelphia native backed by RMG Amplify, R-Swift returns with a sure-fire hit accompanied by Sho Baraka and Avila on the hook. Between Baraka and Swift, their content and lyricism exchanges are some of the best bars I've heard in 2021. Baraka reminds us of his lethal delivery while Swift comes correct line after line. The premises of the track celebrates followers of Christ and their victories in life tracked one after another. Swift's gritty, rigid voice has been missed and adds to the emotion of the track. Overall, the track provides energy, honesty, and ingenious bars throughout. Stream "Real Ones Winning" on Spotify here.
Mitch Darrell feat. Scribe Music & Dre Murray (prod. by UNTDLD) - "Warzone"
Independent rapper Mitch Darrell releases his eighth single this year and third single off the upcoming mixtape sequel, Rap Should Be Fun, Vol. 2. “Warzone” displays Darrell’s progression as an artist and as a lyricist. With each single dropped, he refines his flow nitpicking until near perfection. Another up-and-coming indie rapper/producer UNTDLD came through with the production on the track. The creative use of the high hats and drums, the layers, and a few innovative surprises makes this track one of the best-produced singles of 2021. Featured on the track is Scribe Music with the harmonious hook and CHH vet Dre Murray providing spiritual and lyrical truths top to bottom.
Listen with the intent to catch wordplay gem references to Not Klyde, gaming, and a stack of other lyrical candy. Stream “Warzone” on Spotify here.