An Underground Epic
Posted March 13, 2013
By DwayneLacy_NRT, Staff Reviewer
There was a time when Christian rap was nothing but a rip-off of mainstream or secular rappers. Today, Christian rap stands on its own with certain rappers as Propaganda, Theory Hazit, Eshon Burgandy, Macho, the Reach Records crew, D Maub and so many more.
Collision Records has a powerhouse crew of artists including Swoope, rapper and singer Christon Gray, Dre Murray, Alex Faith and Grammy Award-winning producer, Wit. Together they release a highly anticipated, "W.L.A.K." which is an acronym meaning, We live as kings.
Of course some people will look at the title and have the misconception that they are bragging to be the best rappers or establishing their role as the hierarchy of emcees. However, throughout the album they establish the fact that they are kings in the sense of being responsible husbands, men striving to be leaders and Godly examples in a society where men are M.I.A.
Dirty Rice and Joseph Prielozny produce and lay a nice track for Alex Faith and Dre Murray to boldly proclaim their drive to be "All In,"--not quitters in terms of their relationship with God and their families. I'm thrilled to write this review to introduce to some and present to others the great talents of Christon Gray.
When people use the saying of "Don't put your eggs in one basket," this is very true when it comes to Gray. I was first introduced to him as a singer, but it then he blew me away with his skills as a rapper. One of the best songs on the album, "Long Way Down," is musically equal to what many of us call, a "slow jam," featuring bass guitar, electric guitar and of course the slow tempo beat, all provided by Swoope. Gray sings and Dre raps in a bold stance and proclamation to the devil about knowing what he tries to do and how he basically has nothing on the real King, Jesus.
There's something about hearing the guys together in a cypher that brings great excitement. Lead single, "Imagine" is a Wit and Swoope hip-hop 101 banger. Each verse by each rapper is distinct and sick. Some will argue this point and say that may be an exaggeration, but they catch my ear with the wordplay. This allows me to really listen to what they are trying to say.
Peep part of Christon Gray's verse, "Yes Lord I accept your septor / It's Solomon's song from the prodigal son who left you." Or maybe Swoope's verse, "Here for a reason, not a contingency / was an empty seed / just a fetus with a Matt Damon chemistry / until the Trinity's entity entered me with a reborn identity."
"Reign Is Coming" is another one that bangs, but its message resonates as the fellas ask God to let His love shower on them as they "prepare the way" for His return.
Christon Gray pays homage to his wife on "Eyes For You" and then he and Swoope use the same chorus as the former on "WLAQ," which means, "we live as queens." Swoope makes it plain when says, "You're in love with another man / and I don't feel cheated / Jesus." Alex Faith's transparency is so welcomed and needed. He shows his vulnerability on the fast paced, "Coward" and "Broken Kings."
Sit back and worship to the "Arena." Dre Murray raps about his love for the King Jesus, trying to lead even at least one to Him and a great anticipation for His return. Gray sings the hook as you hear almost a chant in the background which is a sort of interpolation of the chorus of Hillsong's "With Everything."
I believe this is another one of those rare 5 star albums. It is one that features nice productions, (and not just beats) by Wit, Swoope, Dirty Rice and Prielzony. The placements of the songs, verses, etc are well put together. It encourages you to really draw nearer to God, reach out to lost and read your Word. Even still, you can bang this in your ride and give it to non-believers and believers alike.
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