JoshuaGalla_NRT's Music and Book Reviews
Return To JoshuaGalla_NRT's Profile
    Join The NRTeam
Latest Music and Book Reviews
What Happened Was... by KJ-52 What Happened Was... by KJ-52
What You Need To Know:  
KJ-52 (born Jonah Sorrentino) defines Christian...
Never Fold by Tedashii Never Fold by Tedashii
What You Need To Know:  
Born to Samoan parents, Tedashii grew up in...
Home by Canon Home by Canon
What You Need To Know:   
Aaron “Canon” McCain originated...

Showing 1-10 of 21 |   View Next 10 Album and Book Reviews
A Short Audio History of an Extended Career | Posted May-25-2019
What You Need To Know:  

KJ-52 (born Jonah Sorrentino) defines Christian Hip-Hop (CHH). In his 20-plus years of exposure to the genre, KJ has created over 15 albums, a handful of mixtapes, and even a Christmas project last year. KJ-52 has spent his career being an ambassador for Christ, never ashamed of the title 'Christian rapper.' He’s displayed such a love on tracks with humor, lyricism, antics, and just a pure appreciation for the hip-hop culture. KJ-52 was a gateway into CHH for thousands of fans in the early 2000s, and remains an ambassador for our youth in 2019.


Most recently, he released What Happened Was… to be paired with his autobiography to be released under the same name. In 2018, KJ also released a movie serving as a visual autobiographical story of the previous two decades. He created this current EP with up and coming Nashville-based producer Poetics (Chandler Sherrill). Chandler has worked with CHH heavyweights such as Dre Murray, Pettidee, Derek Minor, Canon, and Dru Bex.

What it Sounds Like: 

To gain perspective for the sounds of this EP, it helps to be familiar with Poetics and his aggressive beats. This producer uses the current concentration of trap music to his advantage by crafting anthems one after another. With this project, listeners get a taste with “Beastmode” featuring long-time friend Xay Hill, “Flex” featuring Dre Murray, and “Go for It” featuring independent artists Jodie Jermaine and Mitch Darrell.


Simultaneously, KJ-52 only seems to improve lyrically as he matures in lyricism and overall flow. Ever since Dangerous released in 2012, a steady attention to refined bars and remaining in the defined pocket of any given beat has been spotlighted. Even though he's been around for over two decades, KJ-52’s tracks never possess a “dated” feel like most CHH pioneers have been guilty of in recent years. He’s constantly plugged into the culture and trends.


KJ returns with two tribute tracks, one to the restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A and the other to main characters from NBC’s The Office which ended after a 9-season run in 2013. “Gimmie That Chicken” and "Jim and Pam” bring back the nostalgia of past humorous tracks like “Coke, Fry, Cheeseburger,” “Mullet Pride” and “Gimmie That (Mountain Dew).


Spiritual Highlights: 

KJ-52 never abstains from including spiritual-driven content in each of his numerous releases, and this EP is no different. With lines like, “Cause God is there even when you can’t see Him / I pray you’ll know Him before you go and meet Him” on “Depression Nap” to bars such as “Your life plus no Christ / That is a crashing disaster” from “Big Enough,” KJ brings his faith to the forefront as if he has the word Christian tattooed across the back. He’s unashamed, vocal, and proud that Christ drives his lifelong race from start to finish.


Best Song on the Record: 

Even as an EP composed of eight tracks, a skippable track doesn’t exist. Each has its own identity and relates to listeners from various angles. “Depression Nap” is the standout track from the project because of it's subject matter. Not only do too many of us deal with depression, but the answer of hope from Jesus is interjected flawlessly. That’s the beauty of Christian music overall, as artists speak about relevant topics but also provide a viable answer to our giants in Christ and in our personal faith.


The beat and production behind the track from Poetics is one of the most unique, yet mesmerizing sounds in the CHH space to date. Dru Bex on the hook cemented it overall as a favorite track of mine in 2019.

For Fans Of: 

Derek Minor | Trip Lee | Braille


Final Word:

KJ-52 never disappoints. You’re guaranteed a few things with every release such as: relating to a track, dancing to a track, laughing at a track, and appreciating KJ as one of the pioneers of CHH. Since this project serves as an accompaniment to KJ’s history in the CHH space, he’s wrapped up a small, yet impactful collection of tracks that relates to themes of nearly every release dating back to 2000. I applaud KJ for enlisting one of the hottest independent producers and a few indie, upcoming artists to spotlight. What Happened Was… pleases the ears and the heart, and should be targeted as a must listen for your summer road trips.

Stream What Happened Was... on Spotify or purchase on iTunes.

Comments (0)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
A Personal Testimony In Album Form | Posted April-12-2019
What You Need To Know:  

Born to Samoan parents, Tedashii grew up in Lufkin, Texas. Now in his early 40’s, Tedashii’s family resides in Denton, Texas. He first came to know Christ as his Savior during his freshman year at Baylor University, and it was also during his college years that he began to take music seriously and explore his talents and passion for hip-hop.


Since 2006, T-Dot’s released five full-length projects and one EP. His last album, Beyond Paradise, dropped five years ago. Therefore, a great deal of hype awaited current release Never Fold and its 17-track offering on March 8. Tedashii based the project off of the teachings found in Luke 9:62, which states as follows: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and turns back is fit for the kingdom of God." To Tedashii, “Never Fold is about celebrating life in the midst of adversity. It’s a reminder to not succumb to the pressures of life when in the end, it’s what makes diamonds of us all.” (Reach Records profile biography)

What it Sounds Like: 

As expected due to the extended number of tracks, a variety of styles are explored throughout the project. CCM (Christian Contemporary Music) guests including the likes of Crowder, Jordan Feliz and Sarah Reeves, the culture of trap, and just straight bars are all battle tested throughout the 17 tracks. However, the overall sound that prevails is “feel good” music that begs the listener to simply smile.


Standout tracks lyrically include “Full Effect,” “Hold Me Down,” “Splash II,” and “Get Out My Way.” Such tracks pinpoint hope, encouragement, and celebrating life while also focusing on Tedashii’s personal skill set beyond a mic.


Spiritual Highlights: 

Tidbits of Tedashii’s faith walk are sprinkled throughout the album. “Home” featuring Crowder portrays the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11-3 in a renewed way. “I’m skating on thin ice (Yeah) / and my hope is within Christ (Yeah)” resonates deeply for those listening knowing hope is available regardless of our failures.


“It Is Well” serves as the ending of the project and is bittersweet. A featured unknown female vocalist sings the renowned hymn in the Samoan language, adding even more of a beautiful undertone of worship. CHH’s own Swoope tends to the keys for the track, serving as a refreshing surprise.


Best Song on the Record: 

Lyricism is always a personal draw for me, relating to a personal love for hip-hop. Therefore, “Son of Sam” steals the accolades of best track from the project. Essentially, the track summarizes Tedashii’s five-year hiatus from hip-hop while spilling out emotions of anxiety, depression, and doubt. However, one of the staples of CHH is the hope bound to the music. Even though transparency depicts personal struggles, reconciliation, and a leap of faith, solutions are interjected, proving his testimony stronger than ever.

For Fans Of: 

KB, Derek Minor, Braille, Davis Absolute


Final Word: 

Never Fold is a collection of artistry, worship, celebration, and clarity defined. Tedashii takes fans on an elongated journey detailing a roller coaster ride of emotions from the past five years. He beautifully bridges the gap between CCM and CHH, yet hasn’t forgotten how to appease hip-hop purists either. This project possesses a certain complexity which warrants repeated listens and careful inspection to capture all of its beauty within. Much of what fans deal with on a daily basis in the form of emotions and hills and valleys are depicted throughout. Thankfully, also offered is the reality that God loves and heals all situations regardless of their nature. That hope is painted continually from start to finish. Rarely do artists of our culture take the time to lay out their story on an album, and a unique treasure is revealed from Tedashii’s heart - enjoy wholeheartedly.

Stream on Spotify or purchase on iTunes.

Comments (0)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
Home Sweet 'Home' | Posted February-10-2019
What You Need To Know:   

Aaron “Canon” McCain originated from Chicago, Illinois, yet grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. After college in Memphis, Canon settled in Tennessee to perfect his hip-hop craft. Before signing with Reflection Music Group (RMG) in 2011 and putting out his debut album Blind World, he released his first mixtape in 2009 titled, The Great Investment. The following year, Loose Canon was released as the first of three in the series (Volume 2 in 2014, Volume 3 in 2016). In between that, Canon debuted his second full-length release, Mad Haven, in 2013. A handful of singles blessed fans over his eight-year career in Christian Hip-Hop (CHH) before his following was blessed with his third full-length release Home on December 7, 2018.


Canon has molded a sound of its own. A little bit trap. A little bit street. A little bit boom bap. All original. Tagged as one of the fastest “spitters” in CHH, his talents spread elsewhere too. Canon prides himself as one of the more prolific storytellers too. Transparency into his life, faith, viewpoints, and heart is vividly seen across all releases, but especially prevalent this time around.  

What it Sounds Like: 

Canon offers an overall viewpoint of Home on his homepage ( which sums up the feel of the project, "I want people to feel proud about what they have. If you have little or much, there is hope. The comparison game tears down houses. If there's anywhere you belong, it's home."


When one thinks of a home, emotions of comfort, relaxation, love, and security pour in. Canon compacted these feelings and created a project the listener can fall in love with; something absent in music in recent years. A recipe for success with a pinch of autotune, a swirl of impressive features, a few cups of quotable wordplay, and a spoon full of east coast flavor summarizes a record for the ages.


Home represents a non-stop house party from start to finish Kid-n-Play would be proud to host. “Ain’t Got to Love Me” and “Lord Of the Lies” encompasses Canon’s heart on the project. “Pacman” and “Bammm”
sets an aggressive tone. Featureless “Focus” and “Push Thru” accent Canon’s flawless delivery bar for bar. Then, the tempo eases downward like a slow dance climax for “We Gone Make It” and “Home” pinpointing the home as a place of comfort. A place the listener can kick back and digest the makings of a classic.

Spiritual Highlights: 

Canon never hesitates to include his personal faith and related lifestyle in releases. Home is no different. Biblical versions of love, personal reflection, life obstacles, and his daily walk are spotlighted throughout each of the 10 tracks.


Spiritual endurance is found in “Push Thru” with lines like, “I may crumble but I got faith now, watch me push through.” God’s faithfulness is discovered in “We Gone Make It” with, “God over everything, won’t lose no self-esteem, even with broken dreams, peace still surrounding me.” Similar spiritual gems can be unraveled throughout the track list.  Fans will be encouraged to hear how Canon personally traveled through various trials and triumphs attributing his faith as the supreme conqueror.

Best Song on the Record: 

From a project smothered in street anthems and melodic highlights, a clear favorite defined was a struggle. However, “Pacman” featuring Aaron Cole arises as a personal favorite. Between the catchy hook and the aggressive flow shared by Canon and Cole, the artistry of each demand attention.

For Fans Of: 

Tedashii / Bumps INF / Derek Minor / KB

Final Word: 

Canon mastery of wordplay, symbolism, and lyrical control is quite evident in Home. The project contains a comfortable mix of tempos, welcomed inclusion of summer-like anthems for the streets, and material requiring multiple listens to truly appreciate the balance of weighted topics. Even though the project is heavy on included featured artists (12 in all), the personal vibe of hearing Canon’s heart from multiple angles of life is easily deciphered. Overall, Home is one of the few projects of 2018 that didn’t get lost in the onslaught of weekly releases standing out as one of the top ten releases.


Stream on Spotify and download on iTunes.

Comments (0)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
Greatness Exemplified | Posted December-10-2018
What You Need To Know:  

Ty Brasel was homegrown between Memphis, Tennessee and Olive Branch, Mississippi in a region known as “Memphissippi" by the local residents. Brasel fell in love with hip-hop during his high school years. This love came at a personal price for him as he began to glamorize the “rapper lifestyle.” Drugs and multiple law enforcement encounters delayed Brasel pursuing his love for hip-hop and God until 2015 when his mixtape Cloud 9 Raps released.


His passion for the genre and skill set thrived annually as in 2016 Brasel released his first EP (1994 Until…), followed by his debut independent full-length project in 2017 (Young T) leading up to this year’s dual part release collectively titled, Destined For Greatness. This project consisted of two parts, Sides A and B. Side A released on March 30 as a standalone release, then was reintroduced along with Side B on December 7 as a full-length concept album. Amidst all of his personal success, Brasel was signed to a major recording label, 4 Against 5 (IVAV), in December 2017.

What it Sounds Like: 

Brasel relates his most recent release to a life-long journey. He desires to provide life music as a soundtrack for individuals who experience both the valleys and mountains, triumphs and defeats day in and day out. His passion for hip-hop matured during the height of southern “trap-style” rap around 2013. Therefore, Brasel has brilliantly meshed sounds from trap-infused production and lyrically-focused bars from the east producing an overall eclectic sound pleasing to a variety of listeners.


The project borderlines a concept storyline as Brasel encourages fans to buckle up for a ride throughout his personal journey detailing his early humble beginnings to the spotlighted success enjoyed currently. The “sides” of Brasel as a sinner and divine redeemed son of God are detailed from start to finish. Highlighted tracks that expose his transparency include “The Game,” “Phoenix In Exile,”  “Meant For Me,” “God Son,” and “No Escaping.”


Other moments of brilliance showcase his pure lyricism as an artist including “Praying Hands II,” All At Once+,” and “444+333 (God Is Perfect).” It’s often rare an emcee can rattle off bars effortlessly with flawless execution coupled with explicit emotional detail.  


Spiritual Highlights: 

Spiritual concepts like faith, love, relationship, and God, in general, are pinpointed throughout this project. Unlike most other CHH releases, a fine-toothed comb is unnecessary to discover Brasel’s refined faith and admiration of God.


One track stands above others serving as the climax to Brasel’s difficult journey through life, “Through The Fire.” He explains, “When my soul is low, I look to the hills. When I’m lonely when I’m hurting – I call on You.” Regardless of countless struggles faced, Brasel finds victory in Jesus and his increasing faith.


Overall, listeners feel a call to worship throughout the project.


Best Song on the Record: 

From Side A (tracks 1-7), I’m partial to “444+333 (God is Perfect).” The track is a mixture of praises to God and a transparent side of Brasel relating failures with successes. Also, the production of the track screams originality producing a sound unlike anything else in the genre.

From Side B (tracks 8-18), I’d chose “Praying Hands II” since raw lyricism is a gift few other artists possess. Brasel unleashes a pure rawness to his bars absent from the overall refinement found everywhere else on this project. The production aides the brilliance of the track tagging it as one of my favorite offerings from Brasel since his start in 2015.

For Fans Of: 

Parris Chariz  /  nobigdyl.  /  KB


Final Word: 

Even though this project released towards the end of 2018, Destined For Greatness stands out as one of the top five projects released this year. From the storyline of the project to the refined lyrics combined with unique track production, everything together produces a rarity—a near perfect release.


Brasel’s honesty is refreshing and relatable to listeners from various age groups regardless of background. His personal faith exposed is refreshing proving an artist can interject God’s name and deities without tarnishing the remaining content.


Also, the project’s replay value adds a timeless factor, again unseen in most music released in our era. The relevancy of the tracks, concepts, and Brasel’s talent shall only improve with time and much more is on the horizon for this promising artist from 4 Against 5.

Listen on Spotify and purchase on iTunes.

Comments (0)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
A Musical Cyclone of Styles Mastered | Posted November-10-2018
What You Need To Know: 

Gabriel Alberto Azucena, also known as GAWVI, drew inspiration in high school from The Cross Movement (Human Emergency) after a nudge from his mother disapproving of mainstream hip-hop influence. GAWVI was so moved by the record and the inspiration of the genre, he transitioned into Christian Hip-Hop (CHH) almost immediately and, soon after, discovered Lecrae. Fast forward to 2016, and GAWVI signed with Reach Records as an official artist after an 8-year run of being known as their in-house producer, during which he produced several notable singles for Lecrae and Trip Lee from the Reach roster. In the short two-year period since GAWVI released two EPs in 2016 (Lost In Hue and Holding Hue), his debut album in 2017 (We Belong), and now Panorama in October 2018.

What it Sounds Like: 

GAWVI describes Panorama as a wide-angle view of a physical space, and he’s achieved such a definition with the overall sound of the 17-track project. He has blended to near perfection a variety of sounds and cultures ranging from Latino, Caribbean, salsa, R&B, and pop. Unlike most of the oversaturated industry highlighted with solely trap beats over mumble rap, this project is a welcome breathe of fresh air regardless of the track. The best word to describe the contents would be "variety." Repeat listens are required to appreciate it's eclectic contents.


“Slingshot” pays tribute to King of Pop Michael Jackson, with a creative reference pleasing to the ears. Salsa-driven “Trapchata” and Latin-laced Dulce” and “Green Card” (featuring WHATUPRG) immerse Americans into a culture most are foreign to. The final tracks “Get Em” and “Fashion Joe” stick closer to the current hip-hop trap vibes dominating the airwaves nationwide.


Spiritual Highlights: 

A hidden gem is found with “Baker Act” (featuring Aklesso). Essentially a worship song, both artists cry out to Jesus in their own unique fashions, exclaiming that Jesus is working intimately in both of their lives. Aklesso states, “I’ve been searching for my purpose / and I’m learning that God’s working.” GAWVI follows up with, “I’ve been needing Jesus to save me now / I’ve been so alone these days, ahh / I feel all this shame, I don’t care right now / I need you to save, Jesus save us.”


In “No Gas,” lyrics echo “I need Your saving grace / I need You, to take the pain away, yeah.” Throughout the extended project, you hear GAWVI’s requests to be saved, for prayer, and for God to lead him cementing His Savior’s influence over his art and creativity. He’s aligned with Reach Records' overall battle cry to remain unashamed of their faith in and out of the studio.


Best Song on the Record: 

There haven’t been too many projects released in 2018 where I’ve struggled to pick a favorite anthem or track. However, Panorama presents that exact dilemma as it plays like a highlight film. Still, “With You” stands out beginning with the mellow acoustic guitar steering the direction of the track, and its overall sound differs sonically from anything else included. Some meaty topics are addressed including depression, death, loss, separation, and most importantly hope. Listeners can immediately relate to the conversation, as did I. The personal feel coupled with the equally visually beautiful video shot for this track cause it to stand out above all else.

For Fans Of: 

Angie Rose / Social Club Misfits / Matthew Parker


Final Word: 

Absent of a true throwaway track, the 17-song collection Panorama presents is a beautiful display of how culture and music align regardless of the genre. A collision of vivid styles, lyrical imagery, and relatable lyrics package this project into a true standout. GAWVI takes listeners on an audio journey through his personal struggles, upbringing, and roots. Not only does it give an appreciation for GAWVI the artist, but for his passion for life and music combined.

Listen on Spotify and iTunes.

Comments (0)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
The Trap Which Sets Your Soul Free | Posted August-10-2018
What You Need To Know: 

Nashville native Derek Minor is an iconic rapper and producer in the Christian Hip-Hop (CHH) industry. He's co-CEO of his recording label, Reflection Music Group (RMG), has compiled 13 commercial releases over the past decade and has directly invested in lives of other artists such as nobigdyl. The current release, The Trap, is a piece of art rivaled by few others in the genre. It's the third release in the "Up & Away" series from Minor with previous EP releases titled High Above and Your Soul Must Fly; both released in 2017. 

What it Sounds Like: 

The Trap is not a record the listener can ignore or just play in the background. Each track is heavily weighed with socially conscious topics relevant to racism, politics, stereotypes, culture, faith and real life issues. Essentially, the album tackles head-on the daily struggle of what it’s like to be an African American in modern society. There hasn’t been a similar hearty release since summer of 2017 with Propaganda’s Crooked.

Lyrics echo the words of, “The world don't care about us, but they want more for their cameras,” on the opening track to the project highlighting a flawed culture we tread within. “It Is What It Is” was the first single released back in February previewing Minor’s mindset about to be unraveled throughout the 15-track masterpiece interjecting faith, empowerment, and love as the answer to the sins of the world.

“Black Market” interjects that 90’s hip-hop elements vibe with deejay scratches, a return to the boom bap and a mid-track masterful switch up that fans will applaud. “Decisions” follows that era with classic storytelling which would make Slick Rick proud.

“Of Course” and “See You Win” gain my vote for summer anthems to just nod, bounce, and dance uncontrollably to in the car or gym. “Goodbye Lullaby” contends as one of my favorites of the project, as Minor reminds listeners he can harmonize and destroy tracks bar for bar with a fine-tuned flow unlike any other.


Spiritual Highlights: 

Social injustice may reign as the overall theme for The Trap, but Minor’s references to his personal faith, God’s word, and the Kingdom are anything but sparse. Minor proclaims, “I tell the whole world I’m a sinner and Christ saves,” in the final track “Revolution.” He also declares “I’m not perfect, but I’m sticking to His plan. When I lose my life I already lost it for Him,” in “Don’t Cry.” Minor has always worn his faith open for all to hear and witness.


Best Song on the Record: 

“I Have a Dream” is unmistakably my favorite track on the project. The song echoes the civil rights movement pioneer Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s historic 1963 speech striving for equality among all races. Regardless of our own environment or situation, Minor speaks of a better life through Christ. We’re all seen as God’s children and should be treated as such in human form. With several beats and flow switch ups displayed on the record similar to this track, Minor showcases to listeners the good, bad and ugly in all walks of life. Simultaneously, he exhibits the multitude of talents present between singing, rapping and even poetic highlights.

For Fans Of: 

Propaganda // Lecrae // Bizzle // Dre Murray // Taelor Gray


Final Word: 

Derek Minor is masterful in his delivery. The substance of each track was researched and executed with near perfection. Social injustice and all of its accomplices (racism, inequality, hate) are not easily discussed topics to present to a culture consumed by the next Billboard hit or club jam. Minor crafted songs to reach people at their core, the heart. As Jesus defined, souls are won within the heart through love. He lyrically meets people regardless of their situation and points back to the cross. His extensive talents are wonderfully displayed throughout the project within his unique storytelling delivery through harmony and rhyme. Highlights like “Decisions,” Goodbye Lullaby,” “Of Course,” and “I Have a Dream” walk the listen through unique audio experiences neatly packaged and what some will deem album of the year.

Listen on Spotify and iTunes.

Comments (0)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
Transparent Perfection | Posted June-30-2018
What You Need To Know:

This EP is the second installment of four scheduled throughout 2018 following Part 1 that released back in January that featured breakout single,  "Not To Us/Good Love." The exuberant, high-level energy that Steven Malcolm exhibits on stage is born from the hope present in his lyrical content. Bar for bar, few other rappers mimic the transparent weight of what Malcolm offers, enabling fans to connect to his music on a much more personal level.

What It Sounds Like:

An infusion of worship ("Even Louder"), international ("The Second City," "Fuego"), EDM ("Been There"), and trap sounds ("On Ten") could be a sonically chaotic nightmare. However, Malcolm bridges various sounds to precision and excellence. Malcolm spans across various cultures without skipping a beat between island, Spanish, and electronic sounds. It's a breath of fresh air to escape an oversaturation of albums that are smothered in trap. Malcolm offers incredible wordplay that is only fully appreciated after repeated listens, and I found myself hitting pause and going back, again and again, to make sure I didn't miss a line. Tough to do as there's so much to unpack in every track! The level of transparency, biblical truths, and life experiences Malcolm is pulling from is nothing short of phenomenal.

Spiritual Highlights:

Malcolm definitely wears his heart and faith on his sleeve. Every track pours out of a period of who he was prior to being born again in Christ, and the entire EP brings praises to Jesus. Listeners will have no problem capturing spiritual or biblical references throughout the EP. 

Best Song on the Record:

Without question, "Even Louder" featuring Leeland reigns as my personal favorite. There's something so unique when hip-hop and worship collide. The redeeming nature of Christ is highlighted and glorified. There is transparency multiplied when you can surrender to the worship of a loving God. 

For Fans of:

Corey Wise, Angie Rose, KB or Dru Bex

Final Word:

Steven Malcolm is, above all, a masterful lyricist who is just now starting to leave his mark on CHH. His cadence and wordplay are unmatched by few within the genre. The Second City: Part 2 fuses substantial faith-filled lyrics with incredible beats. These past two EPs have offered listeners a distinct journey into the heart and mind of a believer and individual saved by grace. That's something we all can relate to.  

Listen on Spotify or purchase on iTunes.

Comments (0)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
Worship in Hip-Hop Form | Posted October-26-2017
Canadian award-winning songwriter and worship leader Andrew Marcus surprised his fanbase with his latest release, Lift My Eyes EP. The project remains worship-based, as each track clearly resonates with biblical teachings and a vertical focus; however, it is presented in hip-hop form. Under the new moniker Addition, he crafted a seven track EP fully written and produced by himself. Addition's goal for the project is for listeners to have a tool to memorize Scripture and stand on the promises of God. 


The opening track "Father's Heart" meshes the teachings of Jesus and His grace and mercy with the story of Adam and Eve. The focal point of "Under Your Wings" rallies around Ephesians 6, speaking about the armor of God over strong strings and a driving beat, creating a personal favorite. The title track breaks down the teachings found in Psalms 121 as believers call out to God in times of trouble. 

The next track, "Still Waters," is laced with a mixture of beautiful keys, and the hook reminds listeners of Addition's worship roots. Variety is added with "Hiding Place," which takes on a spoken word vibe similar to Fearless Bnd's Jeremy Johnson in content and delivery. This is definitely another standout track enforcing the Lord's strength when believers put faith and truth solely in Him. 

"Unseen Guest" speaks of the presence of Jesus in our lives regardless of the situation. The EP finishes with "The Story," breaking down the Gospels and what Jesus can provide when a personal door into a soul is opened. 


Throughout the EP, Addition achieved his personal goal of reviving the 90's hip-hop production, highlighting simplistic beats which power the tracks with strong keys or plucks of strings behind driving bass. Content-wise, listeners should be encouraged by the many promises God offers in Scripture, detailed throughout each of the seven tracks this EP has to offer. Also, the Scriptural references are easily located, assisting listeners to keep those bible verse themes in mind in times of personal struggle and defeat.

The Bottom Line: Overall, Andrew Marcus' fun hip-hop side project emphasizes God's glory and the teachings of Jesus similar to a typical worship track, but presented through witty rhymes schemes. 


For Fans Of: Connor Flanagan, B.Reith, tobyMac 

Song to Download Now: "Hiding Place" (Get it on iTunes here.)

Comments (0)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
Real Love On Display | Posted October-10-2017
The Puerto Rican songstress Blanca has reminded fans everywhere not only of her eclectic musical range but also her stance as one of the premier vocalists in any genre with the release of her new EP, Real Love. She joins a new wave of artists who are not confined to one genre or musical direction. The Real Love EP blends soul and worship with a handful of other music stylings, fine tuning Blanca's sound and expanding from the hip-hop and pop production styles her former projects were known for. 


In recent months, Blanca quoted the words of A.W. Tozer: "What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." This thought serves as the underlying theme for the EP, expressing that we should experience real love when thinking about God in any situation. The concept is conveyed beautifully by the title track and first single off the EP. "Real Love" walks out the way Blanca discovered the real love of God during the last days of her mother's life. 


Other standout tracks from the EP are "Undeniable" and "What If." Even in its shortened EP format, the listener gains a complete walkthrough of how God's undeniable real love doesn't change, regardless of the hill or valley of the current journey. "Undeniable" reinforces the strength of God's faithfulness and proclaims how believers are surrounded by His promises. "What If" challenges us to halt self-doubt and place complete trust in our Lord. 


The production of "Remind Me" infuses that classic Blanca sound from her older work as the lyrics calls on God to remind us of His everlasting love even in the busy day-to-day tasks. The Dominican Christian Hip-Hop artist Redimi2 is the only standout feature on the EP, lacing the closing track "Give It All" with his native language and adding beautifully to the overall feel of the project. 


The Bottom Line: Tastes of EDM, soul, hip-hop and modernized gospel are all accounted for aligned with a remarkable worship feel on Real Love. Blanca's inner emotions and struggles are molded into truth most believers can relate to and connect with. The Real Love EP appetizer sets the stage for eager fans to witness a breakout full length album in early 2018. 


Song to Download Now:

"Undeniable" (Get it on iTunes here.)


Comments (1)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
Breaking Out | Posted September-08-2017
This devoted husband and father of two breakout Christian pop rock artist is trending in unfamiliar waters with ease. Most of his younger career Jaxson spent dancing and performing with world renowned Gospel artists as he crafted his own unique sound. Jaxon is following his heart creating genuine, authentic music covered in encouragement, which he hopes people turn to in their time of need. 

"I Need You," the latest single from Jaxon, has a prominent soft rock vibe with a soulful Gospel feel. The drums drive the track into a catchy chorus the listener will be singing along with by the end of the song. Jaxon exhibits a confident baritone melody with touches of a tenor, showcasing some range from this young Missouri native. 


The Bottom Line: Jaxon meshes story telling with worship, formulating a unique auditory experience. Jaxon's creativity and vocal range should equate to a solid future cruising towards the next release.

(Get it on iTunes here.)

Comments (0)  |  Add Comment   | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No
Showing 1-10 of 21 |   View Next 10 Album and Book Reviews

Christian Music, Facebook Christian Music, Twitter Christian Music, YouTube Christian Music, Instagram


Christian Music

©2019 NewReleaseToday
A Division Of NRT Media Inc.


New This Week
Coming Soon
Free Downloads


New Music
Movies / Media


Music Videos
#NRTLive Hangouts


Concert Reviews
We Love Awards


Worship Lab

Privacy Policy
Terms of Use
New Music Email