Reviewed by Andrew Midgley
This 17 track album of hooky hip-pop by the Boston-based rapper manages to glorify God and maintain street cred, despite indulging in some moralising: "Down With The Fruit", "Letter To My Bride" (ftg B Free) and "Childish Things" laudably if obviously exhort the listener to curb sexual incontinence, aggression and cursing. Disciple's tail-wagging fervour ("I dive in/That's why they call me 'D.I.'" he tells us on opener "Reach High") combines with a sincere, confessional lyrical approach that will undoubtedly hit a target market of 11-16 year-olds. "On this album I focused on transparency along with giving God glory," he says. "There are songs on this project that will give you a glimpse of the things in my own life that I currently struggle with, but am still trusting Jesus with." The theme of 'The Best Policy' is Disciple rejecting any projection of himself as "perfect" - "I'm weak in my own strength/reaching out to a lifeline. . ./But I got God in me," he explains on the title track. The most interesting song thematically is "The Daniel Complex" (ftg. Ricky Grant), a tight rap retelling of the stories of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the furnace; and Daniel in the lions' den. Although it would have been fun to hear Disciple rhyming an interpretation of the Daniel Apocalypse from chapter seven onwards, his and Grant's handling of the Babylonian captivity narrative as a discipleship tool feels like an open goal for a youth Bible study. "See Daniel, when faced with the option of upward mobility versus faithfulness to God - he chose the latter", voiceovers Ricky Grant, his application pointed but effective. The general geeing up of listeners for distinctive living shoots through the album, from "Pull Them Thangs Out"'s lock 'n' load sound effects to "Above A 99"'s command to give one's all. There is a lack of polish to the album: M.A.K.'s reference to 2015 on "Rap Sheet" is an oversight (it's a 2016 release), and although the '80s are in at the moment, some of the production decisions here sound like the original '80s as opposed to the beefed-up 21st century mk II version. Disciple's collaborators are not all successful: M.A.K.'s mic-dropping sign-off - "one thing. . . changed me/First name Jesus/Last name Christ" - shows a lamentable lack of education, since Christ is a title rather than a surname. Overall though, this is safe ground. No boundaries are pushed, but this kind of thing nurtures young disciples and the album, particularly on standout tracks like "He's Got It", easily maintains the credibility needed to avoid social suicide.
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