Reviews - F (12 reviews, 25/1/11)
Please note that the reviews are ordered by Artist first name..
All reviews are opinion, a guide only. Some are short and to the point, others go into more depth. No real reason why other than when the reviews were written! For other fantastic reviews, check out trailblazinministries.com, sphereofhiphop.com, gospelflava.com, hiphopforthesoul.com and jydist.com. Cross Rhythms has great brief reviews.
Please note if you see any of these reviews elsewhere, it is because I have done the reviews for others (Cross Rhythms). These are sometimes edited for clarity and to fit a word limit. The reviews on these pages are my full reviews.
Faith Child - ‘I Like It’ | TOP
It’s awesome to see well-produced and quality UK hip-hop being dropped. Croydon-based Faith Child is no exception with his single, “I Like It” which gives props up to God for who he is and what he’s done, with some smooth freshness. The radio edit featuring George A has an incredibly smooth, contemporary and r&b / soulful edge as Faith Child chooses “his hero” God and God’s choices – nothing can compare with God. It’s a beautiful track and nicely assembled too. The Jimmy James mix brings a more up-tempo bassline and bass squelching edge. Nice to have 2 very different mixes of one track. “Come My Way” featuring Victizzle is a steady hip-hop synthesized track with a cry for God to show the way, as Faith Child expresses worship and offers up his life to God, dying to self and letting God take centre stage.
Faith D - ‘1 WAY 1 TRUTH 1 GOD’ EP | TOP
Faith D is an 18 year-old MC from Croydon passionate about reaching unbelievers and believers with his faith in Jesus. The album kicks off with some bassline tracks with some strong dancehall elements. “Hands In The Air” is a pulsating bassline grime track as Faith D lays down an intro to the project. We then “Bust the Jesus skank” in “J Dance” - a more party and dancehall bassline track. Showcasing his dexterity, Faith D moves into “He Loves You” with a fast breakbeat and grime flow where he declares, “Sent to earth to die for our sin, a love and affection beyond understanding.” This is a bouncy party track that will hype up a place - “He loves me now, oy, oy!!” Continuing with the almost electro-grime tracks, “I Can” sees Faith D with pulsating lyricism and a staccato flow, contrasting nicely with the smooth and soulful hook. An encouragement of what Jesus did on the cross, to be better people with God’s help, putting down the guns. “Christ Is The Way” brings an arpeggiated backing sound and a nice melodic slur at the end of lines “Gonna serve Christ at all the WAY, Gonna preach truth and serve and PRAY..”
Other tracks worth a shout - “I’ve Seen The Light” is more of a traditional hip-hop groove with a distinctly UK flow. “Hear Me Cry” is a slower track is an encouragement that no matter what you’re going through, the Father will hear your cry. Even when the world is dark and your faith seems weak, stay strong as God will hear your prayers and he cares. A preacher reads from John 3.36 which says “If you believe in the son, you will have eternal life.” We end with Faith D informing us, "It’s never too late to get saved… So let’s pray..”
Faith D - ‘Christ Is The Way’
Faith D is back with a single, letting us know that Christ is the way over twisted bassline and arpeggiated synths with a very laid back beat and flow. Faith D rolls us through many Biblical ways that Christ changes us, lives in and through us. Characteristics of Christ are explored “the way the truth the life...” as well as discipleship guidance, “…blessed are the pure in heart cos they will see him.”
Faith D - ‘Hands In The Air’| TOP
Grime single from Faith D bringing an insanely happy and uplifting grooving vibe, featuring the vocals of Jason Nicholson-Porter. The track kicks off over synth stabs and funky beat as we’re encouraged to “blast it in your car” as we ride into the hook with almost trance like arpeggiated stabs as we’re encouraged to “lift your hands in the air, the summertime is here..” Catchy, well-produced and chart-like anthem song, showing the potential that is Faith D.
Fishermen (now Living Legendz) – ‘Fireproof’ | TOP
The Fishermen (now known as Living Legendz, since one of the collective left the group) come up from out of Michigan and comprise 2 MCs - namely EMC and GS. In their words they are a hip-hop act that has emerged to interrupt the shine of conventional hip hop and introduce the Michigan streets to the hip-hop world. Living Legendz want to show they are alive through Christ and want to make quality, positive music to speak life, bringing an alternative perspective to most commercial rap (such as on “Get Ready”. The opening track, “We Here” is first up, a nice party tune banger, challenging people that Fishermen come to speak life - “Jesus died for you.. we don’t play around.” The track, “Shake" was the first single from the album and is another true party track. “I’m not” takes a darker and harder musical sound with guitar backing, with the crew spitting that they don’t pretend to be what they’re not. “II Night" winds down to an r&b rap flava talking about a night with the wife. We even have a track dedicated to relief from life through basketball - “Ballin”. This album is packed full of contemporary beats, commercial sounds and styles that become a little similar by the album’s end. It may not appeal to the underground hip-hop fan but worth checking for commercial heads. Run Time - 60.20 (approx)
Flavor Alliance - Flavor Alliance (enhanced CD) | TOP
Got this great CD as part of the packet given out so generously from the team at Flavor Fest. The Flavor Alliance CD showcases the Alliance artists on a 14 track CD with yet more compelling rhymes from the team. Unlike the Cypha range of CDs, this is more of a pure and simple hip-hop CD and features - DJ Lopez, Bboy nova & Bgirl eenk, Imperial, Los-1, Legacy, Symalee, Sabe, Relex.the.son, Rize, Spec and the man Urban D. Starts up with 'Barbershop' as the fam introduce themselves. Tracks vary from latino to east coast to bboy tracks. Musically we have a variety of beats, with a combination of the distinctive Flavor Alliance sounds mixed with what I'd say constitutes an LA Symphony style (eg New Dawn) - a massive compliment. Content is clear and Christ-centric. Delivery (as ever) moves between easy listening to syncopated flows. The CD mixes male and female MCs seamlessly. We end with a perceptive track from Urban D called, 'The Big Screen' about how Chrst is invading our movie screens, praise God! The enhanced CD features a live performance from Spec at a FlavorFest and an insightful interview with Urban D and Spec. Run Time - 57.27.
Flavoralliance/Urban D - We Go Together Like (vinyl) | TOP
I really love the lead track on this which drops with KJ52. The album also features Corey Red and Precise. When Urban D hit London just recently, he got the crowd jumping to this track, all dropping arms to worship God. Did well to perform it on his own as it's lyrically furious! It's the joint that proclaims, 'I was lost in this world thinking I was aight, b-boy moves, graf designs, turntables and the mic. But deep down I was searching til I saw the light and found relationship with Christ that leads to eternal life..' 4 tracks on A-side and all the instrumentals on the flip.
Flavor Fest DVD | TOP
Awesome. Want to reminisce about Flavor Fest, see what it is, see the potential of God using hip hop as a valid ministry tool to reach people for God with relevance? This is an essential. Not only are there performances from the FlavorAlliance crew like Urban D and Spec, you also get other great performances from artists like Pettidee, Corey Red & Precise and 4th Avenue Jones (check their last tune!) among others. This also peeps behind the scenes with Urban D (Pastor Tommy) at Crossover. You get interviews with artists and more, over 2 DVDs. There are features on the church, skate park and breakdancing. My favourite part, other than the moving performances from people like Pettidee over crunk beats and the Godly words from so many of the artists - was the words from Pastor Tommy about using hip hop as a ministry tool. It challenged me to step out in faith. You should hear his words too and come join me - or them - or start your own ministry. Word up! Run Time - 2 DVDs.
Flavor Fest Volume 2 DVD | TOP
The next part in the Flavor Fest DVD group. Features Urban D, Spec, New Breed, Pettidee, Elle Roc, 4th Ave Jones, Bobby Bishop, Rawsrvnt and many others. In terms of DVD quality, menus and design, this one exceeds the first DVD. I prefer the previous DVD in terms of artists and character of performances. There is less general hip hop features too, prefering to concentrate more on the music. If you want to see some dope artists and performances this is a good buy. If you want to get behind the artists, find out more about Crossover and what the artists think and where they're coming from, this is a great buy. I also bought it to support Crossover ministries, Urban D and the UK distributor, Spirit Music. My favourite performance was New Breed, though 4th Ave and Pettidee bring their usual hip hop soul and crunk energies. Good to see a variety of artists featured too. Look out for more innovative products from the Flavor Alliance crew. Run Time - 2 DVDs.
Flynn - In Like Flynn | TOP
Feeling this.. What sets this member of the very fresh LA Symphony crew apart on this album is the meeting of old school and new, the mix of funk, samples and modern synthesized samples and live riffs. Good to see how Flynn drops a summary of his thoughts behind in each track on the CD inlay. This definitely has a real LA Symph feel to it (no surprises there then!) Kicks off with a big phat synthesized bass with the dope 'Love is Dead' - 'When the love is dead, and the pain is dead and the hope is dead then you know I'm dead..' Next up, 'Superstar' drops another synthy bass with a head nodding beat. Flynn lays down a more controlled flow with a deep message assessing business and more, swiping at lack of integrity and looking at how fame and fortune can change character, '.. you're dancing in the end zone with the opponent.' Next track 'Til we reach the top' features Sharlok Poems and has a tuneful chorus about going for the top - a distorted bass line lays down the foundation with a kind of hip hop house beat and musical cuts breaking up the riffs. 'Get Up' drops another catchy hook over breaks, bass and congas. Dope. 'Nyquil' has catchy beautiful ambient vocals underlay a deep house 4/4 beat with some funny stuff about Nyquil. 'Triumph' returns with a funky synthesized mash up of samples and clever lyrics. 'Freaky Flow' drops a big phat old skool breakers beat (as does 'In Like Flynn') with Flynn's and Sharlok's vocals standing out with a delay effect. Cyphers flow freely and gently over 'Slow Murder'. A deep sub-bass beefed up bass kick underpins the synthy funky 'You Want It' - a groove to make you dance. 'Just for once come with some lyrics, just for once make me wanna hear it..' A piano riff rolls over a nice break in like 'It's Like That' with some clever lyrics, 'I'm a killer whale disguised as a minnow..' Life rolls on. 'Push it away' reminds us that sometimes it just doesn't work out with the ladies. 'It's So Beautiful' is a dope hand clapping groover. This is hip hop funk sample synthesis. This was put in a Top 10 hip hop albums of 2004 (click here). Run Time - 47.16.
Fresh Digress – ‘Fresh Digress’ | TOP
The sadly now defunct Fresh Digress comprised Reality and Chris MC with a fun feeling and simple old skool styled lyrics and beats, like “That’s My Jam”. The first track, “Ready or Not” brings a grooving west coast pulsed track, reminding me of a Fresh Prince vibe, as they playfully poke fun at each other, “I’m Charley Brown and he’s Snoopy..” Similar fun tracks include the humorous delivery over live drum sounds in “Right Now”. Other standout tracks include, “Brr! It’s Cold” after which a constant album theme of Fresh Digress being ‘interviewed’ by two radio station presenters re-appears, asking Fresh Digress if the song is a diss to Nelly’s classic, “Hot In Here” (it’s not). Another fresh, yet familiar sounding piece is “Freedom” with a great beat as Fresh Digress try to bring freedom through lyrics. There are serious tracks and lines through the project, with “Smoke+Fiya” warning us to be wise and to stay on track with God and the slower jam, “I Know”. Bouncing beats see a song for the ladies with basic lyrics, reminding they are all “royalty” in “Princess”. Interestingly the more reflective “Ring, Ring, Ring” is where Fresh Digress excel lyrically and in delivery. We end with “Done”, an amusing track parodying musical styles as they conclude the album.
Fro – ‘Is The Cornerstone’ | TOP
Picking up Fro’s album, you’re immediately struck by the album artwork, which has a striking resemblance to the artwork for Forrest Gump. But this is quite deliberate as Fro takes Forrest Gump as an inspiration for this dirty south filled concept album, combined with Mark 12:10, ‘The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner’ – pointing to Jesus. Tracks with movie character titles evidence this - like the slower “Jenny” looking at heartache and “Bubba” revealing that we all need Christ, no matter how fine we feel. The album mixes clips from the movie with some passionate flows from Fro whose heart is for the hood and for Jesus. Fro has a unique flow and style, but this distinctiveness massively adds to the project as in tracks like “Jesus” on the hook. This is straight gospel, dirty south style as tracks like “He Save Me” testify, as Fro takes us through his journey of being bored with the Bible and selfish through to a new life in Christ. “Flesh” is an anthemic style standout as Fro talks about killing the flesh, leaving the world, living for God and asking God to have mercy in this process. Deep issues are addressed such as HIV in “Marcus” and the intrepid end track, “Judgement” looking at the truth of Christ’s judgement and encouraging people to get ready for his coming. Powerful ending.
Fros'T - Me vs Myself | TOP
When I saw the album cover of Fros'T I saw this guy that looked like he should be in Hell's Angels. I listened to some samples on the website and thought, 'I have got to get this.' Spirit Music obliged and this does not disappoint. The tracks are catchy, melodic and would stand with any West Coast commercial tracks. Fros'T covers several topics like being away from home on tour, his love for his family, too much religion, about cats fronting and letting others down in the Christian music business and a heart-rending and all-too-true flow about a girl being sexed then killed after dressing up to the nines at a club ('Party Goin On - an almost parody of 50 Cent's 'In Da Club') and more. The first track with Ellis Taylor provides a funky r&b crossover that flows throughout the album. Fros'T has a varied delivery flow, spitting rhythmically at pace and with a groove. This is hard to categorize other than being west coast - but you will find that many of the tracks stick in your head especially 'I'm just being me' with a great musical hook. There are elements of rock too. Love it. I think this album has been recently re-released. Run Time - 67.18.