Reviewed by Stephen Adams
The one-man hip hop circus that is John Reuben rolls into town again with this new release. John is an MC that one could draw certain parrallels with the LA Symphony (in fact, Flynn from LAS produces one of the songs on here), as being a Christian MC that isn't scared to enjoy himself on his CD, as exemplified in his intro "I'll Try Harder", which features John doing a mock-diary entry over a circus sounding background, in which he shows his determination to be himself despite the criticism of hip hop purists. And be himself he does. The album is almost quite poppy in places, but you get the impression that it's due to John just doing what he loves rather than being a puppet of a commercial industry. He veers from the light-hearted fun of "I John Reu", the humourous singalong of "Doin'", poking fun at hypocritical hip hop fans, to the passionate imagery of "I Pictured It", to "Thank You" featuring inspired cameos from two of the best Christian MCs at the moment, Soulheir The Manchild from Mars Ill, and Othello from Lojique to the mesmerising "Turnablism 101" where he allows his DJ, DJ Manuel, to speak with his hands. With the very tightly, professionally produced beats (courtesy of Todd Collins, John Reuben, Nathan Smart and Flynn Adam Atkins from LA Symphony) and despite the fact that the album is made up of predominantly up beat, party tracks (that will definitely translate into a brilliant live show), you leave this album feeling you've been given a look at John's heart, which is possibly the hallmark of good artistry. He's not the best MC out there (in fact he gets quite outshone by Manchild and Othello on "Thank You"), but he's skilled, passionate, and definitely not one to sleep on.
Stephen Adams is an hip hop MC/producer aka Re:Flex The Architect and a student at King Alfred's College, Winchester and is currently eating loads.
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