STYLE: Hip-Hop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 152147-22269 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
The Christian hip-hop scene has grown and grown down the years so that there are today hundreds of rappers who, with some basic home studio software, are turning out a veritable torrent of albums and mixtapes. These are of course of mixed quality. Many are as prone to mediocrity with their clichéd flows and elementary production as their non-Christian counterparts. However, this superlative third album from emcee, singer and producer Customary, known to his friends as Alex, turns out to be one of the best, creatively focussed and most thought provoking albums heard in years. Close to being a concept album, many of the tracks here pinpoint the need for divine love and the Church's frequent failure to display this when encountering the casualties of this world. The album title track opener perfectly conveys this with a soulfully sung hook while "Be The First" conveys the rapper's hope that he will "never be a coward" like those in the Church who settle for a comfortable life. Powerful gems abound wherever you listen on this album. "Everything Will Be Alright" is the salutary tale of a girl who is date-raped ending with the assurance that God's love will find a way to raise her out of her fear and pain while "Left With Nothing" succinctly tells the tale of a workaholic chasing the dollar; a womaniser who doesn't want commitment; and the child of a pastor (Customary himself) who ties himself in knots trying to live out the life expected of him. The song ends powerfully with a fragment of Newton's "Amazing Grace". Production throughout is satisfyingly soulful with some fine vocals - helped out by Customary's friend Dom - imaginative flows and accompaniments which take in everything from jazz-style piano to, on "Hanging On", something which sounds like it's being played backwards. Here's hoping many search out this tremendous set.
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