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Under the Radar Excellence
Posted September 07, 2015
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer


Taelor Gray is back with his fifth studio project, The Mocker and The Monarch. Your first thought may be "fifth project? Why haven't I heard the other four?" I'm just as surprised as you are. The journeyman artist from Columbus, Ohio, may have flown under the radar like his brother Christon, but with this latest album, Taelor firmly takes his place at the adult table of Christian Hip Hop artists.
 
The album has depth, feeling and unapologetic truth. While listening I was reminded of some of the conscious hip hop that came out in the late 90s from artists like Tribe Called Quest. Not that The Mocker and The Monarch sounds old— it has a fresh and unique sound thanks to on point production from Wes Pendleton, Wit and Daniel Steele. The lyrics make you think and reflect as the album moves from "Hollow Man" to "Hallow Man," in essence from the mocker (you and I) to the Monarch (Christ).
 
Album highlights include the unapologetic "Cold," produced by Peace 586. The song hits hard both in the sound and the content. The song touches on issues such as eugenics, Caitlin Jenner's ESPY and the recent Planned Parenthood scandal. These are some of the issues that epitomize the current state of our world, the things that are so cold that we need to actually allow them to hit us in our souls so that we can not merely complain about it, but do something.
 
"Powdered Toast Man (feat. Beleaf, Jurny Big, and DJ Efechto)" is the best song to come out of the genre this year. As soon as the beat hits, you know you are in for a treat. The verses are tight, and Efechto's scratching adds another level to the song. The song is pure hip hop, no hooks, no flourish, just rap from front to back. One also has to applaud the use of a Ren and Stimpy reference in the title.
 
Closing Thoughts:
There is so much on this album that you have to listen from the beginning to the end several times in order to understand the depth of meaning involved. I've had the album on repeat for a while and each time through I hear something new. Taelor Gray will not receive enough acclaim for this album which is a shame. This is an artistic project that proves that Christian Hip Hop is coming into a new renaissance and that it can be on par with what is on the radio.
 
Song to Download Now:
"Powdered Toast Man" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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