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A Soundtrack of Coming Back to Life
Posted June 09, 2014
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer

On May 27, 2014, one of the most personal and vulnerable hip-hop albums this reviewer has heard was released. It wasn't birthed out of a man's struggles to escape gang life or a man's journey through drug abuse, prostitutes and strip clubs.

It is, however, about a man coming back to life.

In a recent interview with Tedashii he said, "A little over a year ago, I lost my one year old son. In his passing, honestly I just wanted to quit life, not necessarily feelings or thoughts of suicide, but just, I don't want to live again, I don't want to go another day without him. It took a while for me to get to a place that I could express what I felt but once I got to that place, this album is what began to come out." The album is titled Below Paradise and in it Tedashii wrestles with the concept of living in a harsh world with a loving God. 

The album opens with choral vocals and strings. We are welcomed into what is going to a moving piece of artistry. Then in classic Tedashii style, the bass drops and Tedashii goes off. The title track "Below Paradise" frames what we will be listening to for the next hour or so.

The first big feature on the album comes on track 3, "Dark Days, Darker Nights." None other than CCM mainstay Britt Nicole handles the chorus perfectly. Her powerful vocals play nicely against Tedashii's rugged and rough lyricism. Other CCM features on the album include Tauren Wells of Royal Tailor on "Paradise," and Crowder on "Angels and Demons."

The Reach Records crew show up on "Nothing I Can't Do" (Trip Lee and Lecrae), "Catch Me If You Can" (Andy Mineo) and "Earthquake" (KB). You'll have to buy the deluxe version to get KB's verse though. 

The deluxe version is probably a good idea to get just so that you can recover from the final track on the standard album. "Chase" is the most precious moment on the album. The song is a direct song from Tedashii to his deceased son. About the song Tedashii said, "That song was my ability to admit my desire to express my undying love and affection for him and then in some way allow people in so that they can see the genuineness of the wrestle. I think often times people want to shy away from pain. For Christians, some of us are afraid to admit we feel hurt because in some way we feel like that will belittle God in our life or we'll say, 'Well God must not be big enough to handle that in my life.' We don't to communicate that so we'd rather wear the façade. 'Chase' was my way to shatter all those things. To sit like David did in Psalms and cry out, 'Again will you turn your face from me, again will you hide your face from me, O Lord.' Or to be able to cry out like Solomon said, 'There's a season for mourning' and this is that season for me. That song was definitely difficult to do but I think that that's necessary." Tim Halperin features on the chorus and does an amazing job in expressing the pain and the struggle.

Prior to this album I hadn't listened to much of Tedashii. Honestly, I wasn't a fan of his style or his flow. The transformation of the artist known as Tedashii is as great as the transformation of the man behind the artist. The lyrics are personal, his flow is on point, the album's production values are not in question and each and every feature is perfectly placed and works brilliantly in this album. This album is complete from start to finish. If you haven't yet listened to this album, or perhaps like myself, was never a fan of Tedashii, I encourage you to do yourself a favor and pick up this album.

Song to Download Now:
"Perfect" ft. Kam Parker (Get it on iTunes here.)

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