Over the past few months I've seen a trend in my life and Christian music. Rap. It's becoming more widespread to battle secular artists like Eminem, Jay-Z and Puff Daddy (or "P Diddy," depending on the day of the week). So when I got back from the Great White North one of the latest records I heard was SoulJahz, a new hip-hop; R&B and dance brother/sister trio on Warner Brothers label. The album opens up with a song called "Let Go." It's got a good beat and opens up with a nice rap til the much more layered chorus. "All Around the World" has more of an R&B sound while "Jubilee" is driven by a catchy dance rhythm. While SoulJahz clearly have a lot of variety, the only problem is each song is so different. There are also two tracks featuring a slow rap by Vejea dealing with topics like hate and poverty. They're topics you would find on a secular album like this, but these tracks feature a Christian twist.
There are songs that deal with abuse, like "Beneath the Surface," one of my personal favorites, which is somewhat similar to something we might hear from Michael Tait. When Rachael Washington is offering lead vocals, the band's sound tends to be reminiscent of Britney Spears, like on "All Around the World." "True Love Waits" features a duet with Rachael and Philip LaRue from the brother/sister duo LaRue. The soft pop ballad is easily radio material and speaks on the importance of sexual purity and that true love is worth waiting for. "The Color Hate," another highlight, touches on racism featuring harder gangsta rap vocals. My favorite track, however is "Worship," a rousing tune that challenges the listener to worship in a different way. The closing song, "Keep Risin'" is a real tight hip-hop track, serving as a kind of a thank-you song. The album ends with an instrumental version of the song.
Lyrically, they're deeper and more challenging than you might expect. This is surprising considering SoulJahz home label is secular label, Warner Bros. However, as is often the case in rap, a lot of space is used up with repeating "yeah's," "uh-huh's" and "what's" over and over. This trio has been together for four years, and I'm sure will get improve more in time. I liked the album overall. About half of the album, six or seven tracks are hip-hop tossed in with some ballads and some poetry for an overall good mix. If you're into hip-hop and want something fun with a good mix check these guys out.- Review date: 9/1/02, written by Kevin Chamberlin
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