This seems to be the year for all the new artists to come out of hiding and let their music be heard and their names be known. While many will undoubtedly leave their mark, it is quite certain that none will have the same eclectic style of Liquid. In fact, it's not only Liquid's sound that is different, but his story as well. Coming from the streets of inner city Philadelphia, and a rough life from the very beginning, this singer/songwriter takes those challenging life experiences and sets them to music creating what is sure to be one of the most talked about debut albums of 2006.
From the start of Tales From The Badlands, each song plays like a new chapter in one of the most difficult biographies ever heard. Given all the information we've learned so far about Liquid, no doubt the twelve tracks have a personal significance to the performer. "One Time" is a vivid portrait of a man who dealt with a police encounter shortly before coming to know the Lord and then later begs others to come to know this great love he now experiences. The mellow "When The Sun Goes Down" frankly discusses the fears and reality of harsh violence after dark from the area in which Liquid was raised. One of the most heartwrenching tunes, called "Gangsta," in a spoken word style, tells of one who "Fed his kids with his money from thuggin'." Though many rappers seem to discuss drugs and violence relentlessly, Liquid does the same-only with a completely opposite attitude. Instead of feeling sorry for himself about all the hardships he has encountered, he seems determined to lift up and encourage kids of all ages no matter what situations they may find themselves in.
While there seems to be a strong lyrical theme throughout this honest yet often depressing Tale, there seems to be an absence of one specific genre but rather flavors of everything. That's where things begin to get complicated. Bits and pieces of so many different styles can seem like complete musical overload by the end. "Mi Gente" could possibly be one of the most awkward moments on this disc. This song showcases Liquid singing in Spanish part of the time over a rock-edged guitar. "One Time" has a quite similar feeling to it, whereas "Ghetto" is a simpler moment. Other tunes display Latin, R&B, reggae, hip-hop, and even some jazz influences. Variety is appreciated, but it simply feels like there may be too much here.
Without question, Tales From The Badlands will be enjoyed by many music fans-it may even connect deeply with some. Liquid exhibits the potential to be one of the leading faces of Christian hip-hop in the future. Hopefully he will hone in his craft to reach the possibilities which could be waiting for him.- Review date: 7/15/06, written by Lauren Summerford
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