The Ups and Downs of Growing Up Posted November 12, 2020 By JoshuaGalla_NRT, Staff Reviewer
What You Need To Know: Seattle-based resident Peabod (birth name Isaac Peabody) has one of the more creative roads to hip-hop in the Christian Hip-Hop (CHH) community. Peabod began his music career as a singer/songwriter in the folk genre. In 2014, he independently released an EP titled, Steps. However, Peabod was always rooted in hip-hop. He used to write rhymes for fun. It was a deeper passion unexplored. These “for fun” raps transformed into a mixtape. The mixtape was named Healthy Snacks. The self-produced engineered and recorded project caught the ears of staff at Centricity Music. In 2018, the label signed its first hip-hop artist. Centricity re-released Healthy Snacks as Peabod’s debut project.
Peabod’s latest EP, Growing Up, Pt. 1, is a collection of previously released singles from 2020 and two new tracks. He brought a few friends along for the storytelling journey, included his beloved wife Belle, Reach Records’ Tedashii, Gotee’s Cochren & Co., and independent rapper AKLESSO adds their talents to an overall impressive collective sound throughout the EP.
What it Sounds Like: Just when you think concept projects are a thing of the past, Peabod creatively develops an EP with a story. The track names are perfect pertaining to the name of the EP. While we experience childhood and growing up, it’s both wonderful and scary. When we’re engaged in a relationship with our heavenly Father early on, we’re compelled to love everybody. During certain milestones in those early years, we experience big feelings grander than anything we previously experienced. Then, most of us relate to the prodigal son parable from the bible when we stray away on our own terms during teenage years returning years later when we solidify our faith.
The EP begins with the latest single from Peabod, “Wonderful and Scary.” As previously described, he presents the beginnings of his life and how everything can be both wonderful and scary as a child. He displays his own lyrical prowess with an impressive flow packed with metaphors and experiences every listener can relate with. An intro of sorts to the project, a portrait of his humble paintings is displayed lyrically providing a peek inside the creative mode Peabod possesses.
Next, we’re introduced to the first of two new tracks from Peabod, “Love Everybody” featuring Tedashii. He expresses a command directly from our Savior, love God and love thy neighbor. Essentially, love everyone. The track personifies Peabod’s “happy raps” reputation his music provides. The eccentric high hats and handclaps force a smile on the listener’s faces. It’s basically the definition of Peabod and his outlook beautifully displayed. Tedashii’s contributions highlight an already dope track.
The second brand new offering wraps up the EP, “Prodigal” featuring Belle (his wife). It’s an expansion from Peabod’s own viewpoint of the biblical parable describing the prodigal son. The contribution from Belle Peabody accents the track reminiscent of the father running to the son when he returns home and perfectly wraps up the first part of growing up from the mind of Peabod. The chorus/hook reminds me of how angels would react when the son returns and the heavens rejoice. Powerful and in perfect harmony.
The remaining two tracks were revealed to Peabod’s fanbase during the summer. “Big Feelings” featuring AKLESSO and “Heavenly Father” featuring Cochren and Co. These two marry well as “Big Feelings” reveals the inner workings of Peabod from a transparent introspective of struggle and doubt whereas “Heavenly Father” answers the call of prayer when we’re at our weakest crying out in worship to God.
Spiritual Highlights: The contents of the EP explain how Peabod found his faith early on during his childhood years. We discover the inner battle he struggles with early on carried forward into time as an adult. It showcases how his faith has grown from basic to extended wisdom through lessons and experiences.
In “Wonderful and Scary,” we hear of how Peabod is thankful for the blessings even though they may seem scary before being revealed as something wonderful. With “Love Everybody,” he takes God’s basic command to love everyone and applies it to his life outward. “Big Feelings” expresses how God remains with us regardless of the highs and lows we experience often. “Heavenly Father” exposes his everlasting love regardless of our own struggles. “Prodigal” is directly taken from God’s Word in the book of Luke and expands on the parable.
Peabod is known for his “happy raps” mentality because of the joy God provides within his life daily. He’s never discrete about his faith or the source of his happiness. Therefore, the art Peabod paints through the medium of music possess a blueprint from the Father himself.
Best Song on the Record: Even from only a selection field of five tracks, I struggled with selecting the best track. I enjoy each of the five for different reasons. However, I’m going to stamp respect on “Prodigal” featuring Belle as my best song from the EP. There’s just something organic, poetic even about a husband and a wife sharing their creative giftings together during the short length of a song.
It’s rare two creative opposites merge ever-so beautifully during the art of a song. Peabod with the wordplay, crazy rhyme schemes focused on the parable of the prodigal son. Mrs. Peabod with the powerful chorus/hook driving home the beauty of when a child of God returns to the faith.
I absolutely adore the introduction filled with sounds of piano and a chorus. The piano throughout behind the driving bassline is beautiful.
The melodic and harmonious chorus/hook merged with the rhymes of excellence from Peabod combine for a solid track and a highlight of the EP.
Final Word: I find it quite an incredible feat artists are beginning to achieve within the shortened EP form. Even though most projects range from four to seven tracks in 2020, the content hasn’t suffered. Peabod achieved a concept album within the borders of an EP. The project contains vivid storytelling, transparency, and an overall theme that resonates throughout each track in its own creative undertone.
I appreciate personally how Peabod laces each track with his brilliant lyricism, then features bolding break out during choruses or add an additional verse syncing with your overall vision for the track. The concept of the EP tagged along with the handpicked features all join together seamlessly in a gem of a project. Well done, well done indeed!