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Mat Kearny "Young Love" Review | Posted February-01-2012
In 2007, a song called “Nothing Left to Lose” hit the Christian radio airwaves, the artist being newcomer Mat Kearny. I was hooked on the song and as his popularity grew, I enjoyed his radio singles that followed. Now Kearny returns with a collection of 10 songs, most of which were inspired by the conversations with passengers in his taxi cab, as he became a licensed driver. The album goes by the title Young Love.  

                The album opens with the extremely catchy first single “Hey Mama,” which Mat wrote about the first time he met his wife, Annie, whom he married in 2010. The extremely catchy drum beat and clapping match with Mat’s stellar voice, and his vocal abilities are showcased very well throughout the album. “Ships In The Night” seems to be about Mat and his wife trying to figure out how marriage is supposed to work. The song features a pounding drum beat and Mat’s unique style of rapping. “Count On Me” showcases Mat’s keen sense of vocal rhythm, along with a nice touch of kid vocals. This song makes a strong commitment to a girl to be there for her. “Sooner or Later” promises a girl they’ll make it through a tough spot. The song showcases Mat’s nice high vocals on the chorus.

                “Chasing The Light” encourages a fellow believer to keep pursuing God, and this song also includes Mat’s rapping. “Learning To Love Again” is a slower ballad about healing broken friendships, this one seeming to be with a good friend or brother. “Down” was my favorite track on the album, because of Mat’s vocals on the track. This one is the most spiritual of the songs on the album, and encourages two broken people that God will forgive them even when they’re at their lowest.

                “She Got The Honey” is a song lyrically and almost musically similar to “Hey Mama,” celebrating the joy of love. “Young Dumb and In Love” also is in this vein, and it was nice to have an electric guitar in the song on top of the pop beats. The album closes with “Rochester,” an emotional song in which Mat and his guitar carry along the story of his father who ran an illegal cigar shop, got arrested for drug possession, and came back from prison trying to start over and make things right. The song deals with the story of the father as well as Mat’s own personal feelings. This is the perfect album closer

                Overall, I was blown away by this album. The pop beats and vocals make a really enjoyable listen. While not a lot of spiritual content, this is a great album to listen to when you feel down, as most of the tracks are very feel-good. If you know a Christian who’s looking for pop music without messed up lyrics, point them to Young Love by Mat Kearny, you won’t regret it.

 

Rating: **********10/10

 

Top 3 Songs:

 

1.       Down

2.       Hey Mama

3.       Ships In The Night

 

Feel free to comment on this review so I can make them the best they can be!!

 

God Bless!

-dreamingoutloud


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Good, but the Hawks could done better... | Posted December-20-2011

    In 2006, Hawk Nelson released a 3-song Holiday EP called “Gloria.” By then their success was just starting to come in. Fast foward to now. After releasing the smash albums, “Hawk Nelson...Is My Friend!,” “Live Life Loud,” and, most recently, “Crazy Love,” the band return to the holiday spirit with their new 7-song EP “Christmas.”


    The EP opens up with the smash up of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is a fast-paced rocker that runs for the first minute and a half of the song. The song then stops and slows down for “O Come All Ye Faithful,” leaving only the vocals of Jason Dunn and the acoustic guitar left, and then builds at the end for a great finish. “The Wassail Song” follows this, and is very upbeat as well, very true to Hawk’s musical style. This is a different version than what I’ve heard, but great none the less. “Up On The Housetop” is a fast paced acoustic oriented peice that was not exactly my favorite on the album. 


    “The Holly and the Ivy” slows down the album a little bit and focuses more on the real meaning of Christmas, and is one of the best songs on the album. An a cappella “Joy to the World” starts out great, but then ends with Jason Dunn’s wailing, which immediatly ruined the song. 


    “I Saw Three Ships” brings the punk-rock energy in, and didn’t turn to be one of the greatest songs on the album. The album closes with the more Jesus focused “Silent Night,” which turned out to be the best song on the album, and closes it really well.


    Overall, while Hawk Nelson are a great band, this new EP didn’t impress me. Most of the songs didn’t even hit the two minute mark, making the pace of this album kind-of a whirlwind. So this wasn’t exactly their best effort, and I think they could’ve tried a little harder. But, songs like “Silent Night” and “Hard the Herald Angels Sing/ O Come All Ye Faithful” are the highlights off the album and ones you will want to buy off iTunes or any digital music retailer.


 


Rating: ******* 7/10


 


Top 3 Songs:


Silent Night


Hark the Herald Angels Sing/ O Come All Ye Faithful


The Wassail Song



Feel Free To Comment On This Review So I Can Make Them The Best They Can Be!

God Bless!

-dreamingoutloud



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Oh For Joy the David Crowder Band Make This A Hit! | Posted December-02-2011
 This May, dove award-winning David Crowder Band announced that they were breaking up and that their 6th album set to release on January 10th next year would be their last. However, it was announced a few months later, that before the release of their last album, on October 4th, they would release a Christmas album, entitled “Oh For Joy.” Now with this album out, fans will be blown away by their stunning versions of Christmas classics.

    “Oh For Joy” opens with a rendition of “Joy To The World.” This version has a pounding drumbeat with a very nice bell effect. “The First Noel” follows and is more modernized as well, Crowder’s vocals really shine with this tune and B-Wack’s drums are great as well. “Go Tell It On The Mountain” is a pop song that is really nice with the addition of the line “It’s Christmas day.” I liked especially how the drums were suttle and the nice echo effects on the vocals and the guitars got to shine a little bit more on this song.


    A bluegrass rendition of “Angels We Have Heard On High” follows. This song ranks best out of all the songs on this album. The contrast between David Crowder and a female guest vocalist of whose name I can not recall is stellar. “O Come O Come Emmanuel” has an amazing acoustic guitar line and I’m glad it starts out slow, becuase the timing of where the song is is perfect. The song then builds up and continues more upbeat.


    The final three tracks are recorded live from the Passion Conference back in January 2011. The first of these is “O Holy Night,” and next to the Newsboys version, this is the best rendition of it I’ve ever heard. The song brings the drums and heavier instruments when they are needed most. “Silent Night” follows and starts out with a nice slow, acoustic feel, like you would expect from a rendition of the song, and then the song picks up into a bluegrass twang feel that contains the lines “It started out so quiet/ And then a light.” The album closes with a absolutely astounding version of  the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Carol of the Bells/ Christmas Sarajevo 12/24.” The song starts out with a little speech of David’s talking about how even though it’s January, the Catholic celebration of Christmas doesn’t end till January 6th, so it’s still alright to do Christmas songs. They then start the rockin masterpiece, and the song is followed exactly and sounds exactly like the original version, making this a perfect album closer.


    “Oh For Joy” truly is a superb Christmas album. It’s nice how they can take a Christmas song and make it their own style. You’ll love having this one in your Christmas collection, and will probably have it your car stereo every Christmas after you get it!


 


Rating: **********10/10


Top 3 Songs:


Angels We Have Heard On High


Carol of the Bells/ Christmas Sarajevo 12/24


Joy to the World


Feel Free To Comment On This Review So I Can Make Them The Best They Can Be!



God Bless!

-dreamingoutloud 


 




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Newsboys Keep On Rockin'! | Posted November-11-2011

In 2010, Newsboys released their album Born Again, with new frontman Michael Tait after Peter Furler left the band. The album was a smash hit and sold some 345,000 copies in the first week, renewing Newsboys as one of the most relavant Christian acts on the scene. But during the production of that fantastic album, the boys were planning to make another worship project to follow up the smash Adoration and Devotion worship projects released in 2003/2004. Now, only one year and five months after the release of Born Again, the boys are at it again with their worship follow up, God's Not Dead.



The album opens up with "The King Is Coming," an upbeat song, singing about God's holiness and how we need to make way for him to enter. First single "God's Not Dead (Like A Lion)" is actually a cover off Daniel Bashta's worship hit "Like A Lion." This song features guest vocals from fellow DC Talk member Kevin Max, and he adds a tremendos part to the song. This is the best track off the album.  A cover of Jesus Culture's "Your Love Never Fails" is stellar, and gives the track a little more of an electronic feel. "Here We Stand"  talks about staning in awe of God's presence.



"Saviour Of The World" was another great track, talking about how Jesus has saved the world. Hillsong's "Forever Reign" is done much superior to the original, as the song really fits Tait's vocals. "More Than Enough" talks about how Jesus is more than enough for us.



"Revelation Song" done by Gateway Worship, and made popular by Phillips, Craig, & Dean is great, but not superior to Phillips, Craig, & Dean's version. "Pouring It Out" is about pouring God's love back to him.



"Mighty To Save" was originally on Born Again, but is making an encore here. As there are so many versions of this song, this is my favorite one!! "All The Way" is about trusting God completely, not just some. The album epicly closes with "I Am Second," another song featuring Kevin Max. This song talks about how God is above all, and we are second to one, but He is second to none.



Overall, this new worship project hardly ever hints at worshiply-styled music, but instead is just a toned back version of their Born Again sound. If you've been looking for a perfect follow up to Adoration and Devotion, this is it. Newsboys continue to be awesome, and they will be forever!!!



Rating: **********10/10



Top 3 Songs:

1. God's Not Dead (Like A Lion)

2. Forever Reign

3. I Am Second



Feel free to comment on this review so I can make these reviews the best they can be!



God Bless!

-dreamingoutloud



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NeedToBreathe Nail Another Album | Posted November-04-2011
To say 2011 was a big year for Christian Southern Rock band NeedToBreathe would be an understatement, it's been HUGE. Last December, NeedToBreathe were asked by the superstar herself (aka Taylor Swift) to open up for her "Speak Now World Tour," which helped the band gain success outside of their massive sucess in the Christian music scene. That being said, it's no surprise that their latest effort, entitled The Reckoning has landed a spot in the Top 10 of the Billboard Music's Album Charts.



The albums opens with a rock number entitled "Oohs and Ahhs." Although starting like a country song, it soon builds up into a grand rocker. Admist it's rock enjoyableness, the message encourageous that as we have everything we need, we should give it back to other people. NeedToBreathe still show their old Southern groove with "White Fences." The song talks about a kid who lives in a broken home and asks the question "Who is gonna mend/ These white fences?" That person, of course, is Jesus, although the song does not seem to hint at redemption of the home. This happened to be my favorite track because of its stellar gang vocals backed up by Bear Rineheart's stellar voice. "Drive All Night" is a very Country Rock style track, and although the message to me is unclear, is a very great song. This song will sure be a hit in their future live shows.



"A Place Only You Can Go" slows down the album a bit. Although not one of their best slow songs, I liked the use of bagpipes in some of the instrumental breaks. Lead single "Slumber" is an energetic pop song encouraging us to recognize the beauty around us and not just "sleep" through it. "Wake on up from your slumber/ Baby, open up your eyes" the song cries. Although my mom gets this song stuck in her head (which can get very annoying), this does not detract "Slumber" from my top 3!



Title track "The Reckoning" is a poppy track that boasts a very good drum beat, similar to The Afters' hit singles "Light Up The Sky" and "Lift Me Up." "Able" is one of the most straightforward Christian songs on the album. The song admits that we are not able to carry our burdens on our own, and that God can help us. "Maybe They're On To Us" is a rocking track about the band's mission to stay humble despite their sudden rise in popularity. This song once again boasts a great drum beat.



"Wanted Man" is piano and drum based track, and is a highlight off the album thanks to Bear's stellar vocals. "Keep Your Eyes Open" also has a prominent piano track, and talks about how we can never truly see the beauty of the world unless we keep our eyes open and keep out of our comfort zone once in awhile. "Tyrant Kings" talks about how Bear and Bo Rineheart grew up in a small town and how, even though they have achieved success, they don't feel like that in their hometown.



A strong Country song "Devil's Been Talkin'" follows. I love this song, but the only downside is the fact that Bear Rineheart's vocals came too strong on the beginning of the song. "Angel At My Door" is another Country song that is a little more fast paced. "Learn To Love" slows down the album and works as a fitting closer, but I kind of wish the band closed the album with a bang like "Let Us Love" on their 2009 album The Outsiders. The song talks about staying with someone till they learn to love.



Overall, NeedToBreathe's The Reckoning was stellar! They have totally topped 2009's The Outsiders. I reccomend this to anyone who loves Country music with a postive message!



Rating: **********10/10



Top 3 Songs:

1. White Fences

2. Oohs and Ahhs

3. Slumber



Feel free to comment on this review so I can make them the best they can be!



God Bless!

-dreamingoutloud

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The Best Yet! | Posted September-29-2011
in 2009, Switchfoot released Hello Hurricane, which became their most successful record to date, picking up a Grammy earlier this year. While it feels the long time it took Hello Hurricane to be finished, it's only been two years since the release of that amazing album. Now, Switchfoot have overtopped that album with the release of Vice Verses.



The album kicks off with the grunge track "Afterlife," a rockin track that encourages the listener to live their life to fullest while they are instead of waiting for "the other side." "The Original" is punk/rock track reminiscent of the band's 2000 release Learning To Breathe. The song is an encouragement to anyone doubting their worth, telling them they are very special. "The War Inside" is my favorite track off the album and is heavy track about how every war that rages in the world begins with our own struggles and pride.



Christian radio single "Restless" is a more mellow track about looking for God. "I am restless/ I am restless/ I am restless/ Looking for you/ I am restless/ I run like the ocean/ To find Your shore/ I'm looking for you." Stand-out "Blinding Light" is about always looking for hope in midst of all the darkness around us.



"Selling The News" is a "poetry-slam" about the media, and how we twist the "news." A stand-out line that describes this song is "When nothing is sacred/ There's nothing to lose/ When nothing is sacred/ All is consumed/ We're still on the air/ It must be the truth/ We're selling the news." "Thrive" is a mellow track about thriving in this life and not just trying to make it through another day. No. 1 hit on Rock radio "Dark Horses" is an anthem written about "those who didn't choose their fate, but are rising above it" as frontman Jon Foreman puts it.



"Souviners" is another slow track about the good times we have as young people, and a longing to go back to those times and feel carefree about the troubles of life. "Rise Above It" is a great track about rising above the typical and making a difference in the world we live in. "It feels so typical/ I guess I'm looking for a miracle/ Rise above it, yeah/ Rise above it."



Title track "Vice Verses" talks about living in tension. As guitarist Drew Shirley puts "our lives are held between the two hooks for guitar strings, birth is one side, and death is another, and this song is about living well in tension" (at least that's how I remember the quote). Album closer "Where I Belong is a six-minute epic track about looking for our home, and that home, for christians, is heaven. The song ends like "Red Eyes" on Hello Hurricane by linking track 12 to track 1.


Overall, Vice Verses is the best album of 2011!!! The enjoyable rock tracks and the stellar, more mellow (ryhme) tracks make this album amazing!!! If you are a Switchfoot fan pick this up and buy an extra for someone who needs to hear these boys!!! :)



Album Rating: **********10/10



Top 3 Songs:

1. The War Inside

2. Selling The News

3. Blinding Light



Feel free to comment this review so I can make these the best they can be!!

God Bless!

-dreamingoutloud



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Rapture Ruckus "Open Your Eyes" Review | Posted September-24-2011

Acheiving great success from their 6-song debut EP, hip-hop group from New Zeeland Rapture Ruckus release their debut record on BEC Recordings September 27, 2011 entitled Open Your Eyes. Fronted by Brad Dring, this album is sure to be a pleasure to all fans of hip-hop/rap mixed with techno/electronica.

 


Album opener and first single "This Little Light" kicks off the album with a pumping track about living on fire for Jesus. The song's energy that pretty much can't be captured on the rest of the album is what makes it my favorite off the album. "Going Home" follows with a little bit of dull energy. The message, however is about partying everywhere we go because of the fact that death is not the end for us as believers. "The Air That I Breathe" is a worshipful track talking about how God is what we need desperately need and he is "the air that I breathe."



"Tonight" is another highlight off the album and I believe originally on the 6-song EP. The song talks about not waiting to shine our light, but letting your light shine this night, right here, right now. Title track "Open Your Eyes" is an upbeat but emotional track, describing a girl who is living in an abuseive home and a 9-year old boy whose parents died of AIDs and has to take care of three kids. The song encourageous them to "open your eyes and believe" in the hope that is God. "All Things New" is about how God will make his mercies new every day.



"Break The Line" is an extremely enjoyable track about forgetting what is behind us and "breaking the line" of fear that keeps us from sharing God with our friends and family. "Back To Earth" is about being so lost in God's presence that we are lost and out of reallity. "Hold On" is a song about (like all other songs with this title) when all hope is gone, God will be there when you need it.



Final album closer "Still Climbing" is a long track about when hard times and trials come smashing down on us, God is always by our side.



Overall, Rapture Ruckus' debut album Open Your Eyes an incredible album, and these three are an artist to look out for in 2011/2012. Their strong lyrics, pumping anthems, auto-tuned vocals and epic soundscopes, are what make this one of my top 10 albums of 2011. I reccomend you check this album out if you are a hip-hop fan.



Rating: **********10/10



Top 3 Songs:

1. This Little Light

2. Tonight

3. Break The Line



Feel free to comment this review so I can make my album reviews the best they can be.



God Bless!

-dreamingoutloud



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Sanctus Real "Pieces of a Real Heart" Review | Posted September-22-2011
I always have been a huge fan of Sanctus Real. Ever since I heard their 2004 smash single "Everything About You" I was hooked. And now, the band has come quite a long way since their rock n' roll days. With their pop turn to their music, is this album worth a buy? Let's get deeper into the album, shall we? (you want to, right?)



Forgiven 4/5 Nice track. The banjo is a great additon to the song and I like the addition of the gang vocals in the album versus the radio single. This song is all about how when we feel completely rejected by God, he is always there.



These Things Take Time 3.5/5 Another great one, the song is a little more upbeat than the opener. It leans a little bit more to their light rock side.



The Way The World Turns 5/5 Rockin track!!! The song talks about how the world will never satisfy us completely, but God will.



Lead Me 5/5 Beautiful song. Tis song is going to be a well remebered one for 'em.



The Reedemer 4/5 The album's current single pretty much has the same message as track one. This song has a nice pounding drum beat.



Take Over Me 5/5 Fav track!!! This is definitly bringin back some old school SR!!! This is the one that I really rock out to!!!



I Want To Get Lost 3/5 Rockin and old school like the previous track, but not as good.



Til I Got To Know You 4.5/5 Love Matt Hammit's high vocals and a great pop tune.



Dear Heart 4.5/5 Another good one, witha great message about listening to God, not our hearts.



I'll Show You How To Live 3/5 Beatiful song lyrically, I think it's written to Bowen.



Keep My Heart Alive 3/5 Not a great closer.



Overall, this album is proabaly one of their strongest efforts, so please check this album out!!!

Album Rating: 8/10

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Redefining Church Music | Posted September-19-2011
The David Crowder Band have always been one of the most innovating artists in the Praise and Worship genre. In September of 2009. the DCB released their most innovative record to date, Church Music.



Phos Hilaron (Hail Gladening Light) 3.5/5 Strong track with an epic soundscope, but just a little to short. The text is from an old hymn.



Alleuia, Sing 4.5/5 Much better track, a little bit more on the rock n' roll side. The drums are pounding as well and this is a great track about God's majesty.



The Nearness 4.5/5 Another better track, a nice mix of rock n' roll and techno/electronica. Lacey Mosley of Flyleaf screams and sings on this track. The song is about the nearness of God and the end times.



Shadows 4.5/5 Slower and only composed of synths, but a great track. The song is talking about how in the dark times, we will remember God is there with us.



Eastern Hymn- 5/5 EPIC!!! While the song is six minutes long, the song is great, and the purcussion in the bridge is stellar. The song is taken from an acient Chinese prayer book.



SMS (Shine) 4.5/5 I like the radio version of this song better.



The Veil 5/5 Rocking track with a great synth pattern. The message is about rejoicing in God for what he has done for us.



We Are Loved 5/5 LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this track!!! Crowder's anthemic vocals shine out on this track very much.



All Around Me 4/5 Great cover of the Flyleaf song, not a big fan of the original, though it is heavier, but this one is great. The piano line is awesome sauce.



How He Loves 5/5 One of the most powerful tracks on the album, originally done by John Mark McMillan. The song sings about God's amazing love for us



Can I Lie Here 4/5 Nice track, like the big drums on it.



Birmingham (We Are Safe) 5/5 Great song, I love the synth patterns used in it. The song talks about God's comfort.



Church Music-Dance(!) 5/5 Fav track!!! Not really sure this one has a message, this one is just to get up and dance to!



What  A Miracle 4.5/5 Nice song with a great drum and (I think) piano line.



Oh, Happiness 4.5/5 Great song, love the synths and gang vocals as they proclaim God's grace.



God Almighty, None Compares 5/5 Completely Rock n' Roll, stellar guitars, love the tempo change in the chorus.



In The End (O Resplendent Light!) 3.5/5 DCB could have chosen a better closer, but I like how the song ends with an instrumental version of Track 1



This is my favorite album in Christian music!!! Please add this one to your P & W collection!!!!



Album Rating: 10/10

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The Ambassador Is Stopping His Funeral | Posted September-18-2011
 As one of the lead members for Christian hip-hop pioneer band The Cross Movement, William “Duce” Branch, better known as The Ambassador, returns to music after a three-year hiatus. During this hiatus, “Duce” experienced what he calls a “death” season, just as he was about to have his “funeral,” God swooped into action and saved him. That season birthed his latest release, Stop The Funeral.  This album has an encouraging theme that God will forgive us of our sins and renew us daily.

            The album kicks off with the thumping track “A-M.” On this song “Duce” raps about the greatness and glory of our God. This happens to be my favorite off the album, because of its thumping and catchy chorus. Following this track is the enjoyable “Get With Us (Feat. Sean Simmonds).” This song is yet another highlight off the album. “Duce” and Simmonds sing about how God is not distant, but is relational and wants to know and be with us. “Mind Made Up,” although not a highlight off the album, has bold lyrics wound out through it. “Duce” boldly proclaims his affirmation in the fact that Christ is real.


            The bouncy track “Pop Pop Pop” includes some great rhythm in “Duce’s” rapping and a great auto-tuned vocal on the chorus. Amidst the catchy rhythm, “Duce” sings about the temptations we all face in our lives. Following the bouncy tune is the first radio single “Up Down (feat. Charmaine).” This track features Aussie singer, Charmaine, and she and Branch sing about how our life can go from going prefect, to in a complete mess, and that we need to prepare for those seasons. This song speaks very much to “Duce’s” “death” season.


            “Favor (feat. Canton Jones)” is a great track about how there is nothing we can do to earn our own salvation, but it is only through God himself. “Bring You Out (feat. Melissa T)” although a catchy track, wasn’t one of my favorites. On this track, Melissa and “Duce” sing about how we will never be stuck in a hard time, and that God will bring us out on his timing. “Talk This Way” was a very enjoyable track with its incredible pounding drumbeat. This song talks about how we can never really talk about hope unless we’ve experienced it for ourselves.


            “Crumbs (feat. Jessica Ready)” was a highlight off the album, more or less. This song is about three people who just got a little from Jesus, but it was all sufficient for them. “Trust In You (feat. Mali Music)” is about trusting God even when it seems hard. This was another song I didn’t enjoy much.


            “Nothing Like Us (feat. Ryan Stevenson and Charmaine)” is totally a highlight off the album. Stevenson, Charmaine, and “Duce” sing about how God’s love is so incredible, and nothing like our way of loving, that it deserves much praise. Following this is the rock/pop/ballad track “Your Love (feat. KJ-52 and Michelle Bonilla)” which has basically the same message as the previous track.


            “Put It Down” although a little bit chaotic was one of my favorite tracks on the album. “Duce” lays down the gospel on this track. The closing, seven minute and forty-two second (do you want me to round next time?) “The Reunion Cypha (feat. God’s sERVANT, J.A.Z, Shai Linne, C-Lite, Cruz Cordero, and DJ Wade-O) is a catchy track, but a bit of a drag (given I put the exact time above).


            Overall, The Ambassador’s Stop The Funeral was a very enjoyable album. However the album did contain a few weak spots, but other than that this is a great addition to your Christian rap music collection if you like Lecrae and Trip Lee. The bold lyrics also make this a great encouraging album to listen to.


 


Rating: *********9/10


 


Top 3 Songs:


 


1.            A-M


2.            Get With Us (feat. Sean Simmonds)


3.            Pop Pop Pop




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