A Personal Testimony In Album Form
Posted April 12, 2019
By JoshuaGalla_NRT, Staff Reviewer
What You Need To Know:
Born to Samoan parents, Tedashii grew up in Lufkin, Texas. Now in his early 40’s, Tedashii’s family resides in Denton, Texas. He first came to know Christ as his Savior during his freshman year at Baylor University, and it was also during his college years that he began to take music seriously and explore his talents and passion for hip-hop.
Since 2006, T-Dot’s released five full-length projects and one EP. His last album, Beyond Paradise, dropped five years ago. Therefore, a great deal of hype awaited current release Never Fold and its 17-track offering on March 8. Tedashii based the project off of the teachings found in Luke 9:62, which states as follows: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and turns back is fit for the kingdom of God." To Tedashii, “Never Fold is about celebrating life in the midst of adversity. It’s a reminder to not succumb to the pressures of life when in the end, it’s what makes diamonds of us all.” (Reach Records profile biography)
What it Sounds Like:
As expected due to the extended number of tracks, a variety of styles are explored throughout the project. CCM (Christian Contemporary Music) guests including the likes of Crowder, Jordan Feliz and Sarah Reeves, the culture of trap, and just straight bars are all battle tested throughout the 17 tracks. However, the overall sound that prevails is “feel good” music that begs the listener to simply smile.
Standout tracks lyrically include “Full Effect,” “Hold Me Down,” “Splash II,” and “Get Out My Way.” Such tracks pinpoint hope, encouragement, and celebrating life while also focusing on Tedashii’s personal skill set beyond a mic.
Tidbits of Tedashii’s faith walk are sprinkled throughout the album. “Home” featuring Crowder portrays the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11-3 in a renewed way. “I’m skating on thin ice (Yeah) / and my hope is within Christ (Yeah)” resonates deeply for those listening knowing hope is available regardless of our failures.
“It Is Well” serves as the ending of the project and is bittersweet. A featured unknown female vocalist sings the renowned hymn in the Samoan language, adding even more of a beautiful undertone of worship. CHH’s own Swoope tends to the keys for the track, serving as a refreshing surprise.
Best Song on the Record:
Lyricism is always a personal draw for me, relating to a personal love for hip-hop. Therefore, “Son of Sam” steals the accolades of best track from the project. Essentially, the track summarizes Tedashii’s five-year hiatus from hip-hop while spilling out emotions of anxiety, depression, and doubt. However, one of the staples of CHH is the hope bound to the music. Even though transparency depicts personal struggles, reconciliation, and a leap of faith, solutions are interjected, proving his testimony stronger than ever.
For Fans Of:
KB, Derek Minor, Braille, Davis Absolute
Never Fold is a collection of artistry, worship, celebration, and clarity defined. Tedashii takes fans on an elongated journey detailing a roller coaster ride of emotions from the past five years. He beautifully bridges the gap between CCM and CHH, yet hasn’t forgotten how to appease hip-hop purists either. This project possesses a certain complexity which warrants repeated listens and careful inspection to capture all of its beauty within. Much of what fans deal with on a daily basis in the form of emotions and hills and valleys are depicted throughout. Thankfully, also offered is the reality that God loves and heals all situations regardless of their nature. That hope is painted continually from start to finish. Rarely do artists of our culture take the time to lay out their story on an album, and a unique treasure is revealed from Tedashii’s heart - enjoy wholeheartedly.
Stream on Spotify or purchase on iTunes.
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