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Deraj Is No Mirage (He's the Real Deal)
Posted February 27, 2014
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer

The new Mirrors and Medicine EP from Reflection Music Group artist Deraj gives the listener an earful of sonic magnificence. Each song telling a story, and each song with it's own unique sound shows off Deraj's skill as emcee and vocalist. While some albums that don't carry a consistent theme and sound can become confusing, Deraj does is with style, flow and power.

Although Deraj is a relatively new artist this album has journeyman written all over it. The opening track, "Egypt," immediately caught my attention with the piano intro and the vocals in the first verse. The track makes you stop and listen, it doesn't get lost as noise as some opening tracks do. And in a quiet contemplative moment during the outro, strings are introduced to provide a segue into "No Fear." 

This song is an anthem for those people who have been struggling with fear. It doesn't matter whether that fear is imposed by someone or something. In this track Deraj pronounces that, "a man from another land gave me the upper hand, he told me to heal the land and count the grain of sand, walk with the crippled man and teach him how to stand, talk to him in a way he can understand, all according to the plan." This song gives strength and hope to abandon all fear and walk in faith towards the unknown. Musically, this song hits hard and doesn't let up. Once again, Deraj shows off his diverse skills as in each verse the style changes ever so slightly.

"Solitaire" changes things up again. This time the narrative is from Satan's point of view and how he uses his cunning and devices and comes as an angel of light to trick us into sin and basically playing ourselves like when we play "Solitaire." Je'Kob features on the verse and the addition of a vocalist is the perfect touch. There is a suspenseful vibe to the song, like one would expect when something is at work behind the scenes.

"What You Say" is a pop driven song that has a message as strong as the bass line. The request is for a real friend who tells the truth not someone who is just there to appease our ego. The song is based around Proverbs 27:6 - Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Sometimes we don't want the truth, but at the end of the day, when a close friend tells us something that hurts, it is like a tree being pruned. At the end of the day, we grow stronger.

The diversity of sound on this album continues to play out on "Runaway." Another pop song, one that would play out well on contemporary Christian radio, "Runaway," gives the message that running isn't the best answer. When running from problems, they tend to resurface, but if we are to face those troubles head on, perhaps with no fear, then we can move on. 

The album closes with "Forgive You Much." A solid piano intro leads into an extremely hard verse. The song leads us thought the thoughts of a man who is has been hurt and is dealing with the raw emotions of the hurt and pain, but comes to the point of forgiveness. One of the highlights of the album is the inclusion of Vladimir Petit-Frere on the chorus. I love when I get introduced to new artists and this guy has a voice that rivals Christon Gray. It is a perfect addition to the track.

Final Thoughts:
When I saw the teaser video for "No Fear" from Deraj, I was intrigued to see what this guy had. Well, what he has is something special. From the self design of the album cover, to the solid vocals, lyrics, emcee abilities and production quality, Deraj has proven himself thoroughly on Mirrors and Medicine. Deraj is not a household name in Christian Music yet, but with solid offerings like this, there is no question in my mind that he will be among the upper echelon of Christian hip-hop a short time.

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

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