Reviewed by Steve Hayes
If you haven't heard of the Portland, Oregon rapper yet you've clearly not been following the growth of gospel hip-hop. This latest project, amazingly offered as a free download, features a range of talent on the mic and on the beats - from Rob Swift, Ohmega Watts, Theory Hazit, Odd Thomas, Xperiment and more. For beats think a fusion of boom bap and east coast (eg "The New Raw"). The tracks move from the grooving EQ'd "Step Up" to the choral sounds and synths on "We Will Remember" and the pulsating bass on "48 Prisons". The lead song "Native Lungs" chronicles Braille's journey in hip-hop, starting as a fan in the front row, writing lines, freestyling, learning as an emcee - confessing "He chose me". The rapper also confesses the hard things in life, often feeling the spiritual weight of the world, declaring, "The Lord is my refuge, redemption and rescue" in "Feel It". Braille is deeply honest and open across the project ("The Hardway") and then in "Too Many Sorrows" as he talks through his personal struggles. This is a project that throws lyrical depth at issues - such as bad women in "Nightmare Walking" but concluding ".if you always in bad relationships, look in the mirror and tell me who the nightmare is." As we move toward the end, Braille lifts us up with "DeepRest" as he stands firm, waiting for the King to return over an uplifting feel. A fine set.
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