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Without Challenge
Posted May 08, 2018
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer

What You Need to Know:
Jackie Hill Perry is not your average CHH artist. First of all, she is a she in middle of the misogynistic rap game. The secular world is offering us Cardi B who, although making moves of her own, continues to personify women (at least outwardly) as something to look at rather than to be heard. Secondly, the Christian church can too often come across as a misogynistic culture in general where women are still fighting to be seen as equals. The mold-breaking Jackie Hill Perry is returning with her sophomore album Crescendo almost four years after her initial release, The Art of Joy. This new project re-acquaints us with a familiar voice as her first album was an instant classic, raising the game for all emcees.

What it Sounds Like:
Crescendo is a hard-hitting hip hop album. It harkens back to a day where lyricism was put above "getting turnt." Crescendo is not youth group rap or merely a collection of random songs that needed to be rushed in order to meet a contract deadline. The album tells a story, starting with a person in despair in "Lamentations" and moving along their journey of faith, which ends in a "Crescendo" of praise.

Spiritual/Lyrical Highlights:
If you are familiar with Jackie's body of work, including her poetry and other feature verses, then you will immediately know that what is being presented is something that has depth and meaning. A clear example of her lyricism is on display on her collaboration with Ambassador, DA Truth, Shai Linne and Humble Beast labelmate Braille, titled "Hymn." Here she raps: "You can't afford the price for life, like you little rich with the keys / Between them black bars, lying flat, that's a major key. / He's the best, you can bet ain't no change in Him. / Penny pinching freedom / it ain't Lincoln that slaves needed, the grave beat it / and moonwalked when he raised. / Even the stars know his fame stays daily, it's reign season, His name's Jesus."

Best Song on the Record:
If albums were to have bonus levels that only get unlocked after listening to the whole album, then "Crescendo" is that track. I cannot remember the last time that a rapper spit such a strong verse. When Jackie got to the final 16 bars of "Crescendo," I found myself awestruck at each and every component: the beat, the flow, the lyrics, her breath control and her ability to just get locked in the pocket and go until the beat stopped.

For Fans Of:
Propaganda, Da T.R.U.T.H., Beautiful Eulogy, Eshon Burgundy

Final Word:
Crescendo from Jackie Hill Perry is easily the best hip-hop album, front-to-back, of 2018. 

Listen on Spotify or iTunes.

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