It's been two years since Trip Lee released the R&B flavored Between Two Worlds. He returns this time with a more traditional rap album in The Good Life, but as usual, Trip mixes the sounds up throughout the album. The Good Life comes in with big expectations as one of the most anticipated albums of the year, especially in the rap and hip-hop category. As expected, Trip does not disappoint with his newest release as he gives his listeners something to thoroughly enjoy.
The album starts off with Trip talking as he explains, "I was taught that living the good life meant getting everything I could, but I've been shown a brand new picture of the good life and it's glorious." Trip admits that when he was younger he had dreams of being the best rapper. He goes on in the track to admit that he had it wrong and realized that the good life was living for God. Sho Baraka shares a similar story while J.R. handles the vocals on the chorus. Things keep moving and actually pick up with "Robot," which was released in January as the first single. Trip isn't ready to slow things down yet as the second single, "I'm Good," is up next. This track features Reach Records founder, Lecrae, and is definitely one of the top tracks on the album.
One of the most interesting and socially relevant songs on the album, "iLove," comes up a couple of spots later. The lyrics focus on the fact that cell phones and other technology rule our lives and take time away from our Creator. Trip compares his cell phone to a girlfriend with the opening lyrics, "My girlfriend's name starts with an I…" Trip talks about how much time people spend on their cell phone, how much money they spend on the device itself as well as accessories, and the fact that people tend to use only their phone and texting to speak anymore. He says in the chorus, "I love her so much I don't need nobody else; try to put her down, but can't help myself." Trip comes to realize that he has to put the phone down in order to give time back to God. The song has a great sound, but an even better message. Two tracks later, the album's best track kicks in.
You would think that a song entitled "One Sixteen" would feature guys like Lecrae, Tedashii, and PRo, but instead features label mates Andy Mineo and KB. The two have been involved with 116 since joining the label, but aren't really the names you think of when one mentions the 116 Clique. Anyone familiar with Trip Lee will obviously know that the lyrics revolve around the scripture Romans 1:16. The song features some of the best flows and fastest raps on the album. All three guys step their game up for this one and it will likely be a favorite for any fan who listens. "Heart Problem" is next and seems to be a response to critics who have taken Trip's previous lyrics out of context. The opening line, "Money, sex, and power are good," may throw you off to start, but Trip is simply saying that these things, when treated solely as a gift from the Father, are indeed good. One of the most significant lines he uses to make his point is early in the song as he raps, "I ain't saying makin' money ain't right; I'm just saying that you're money ain't Christ." Trip also reminds us all in the chorus that in fact both "the gift and the Giver are good."
When I initially saw the track listing, I was disappointed to see that Trip had joined the bandwagon of adding a contemporary or pop artist to his album. "Take Me There" features Jimmy Needham and was most definitely a pleasant surprise. After the misstep that was Json with Mikeschair, there were zero expectations for Needham's guest spot. However, the tune is actually very solid as Needham's soulful voice fits perfectly into the lyrics that speak about longing for Heaven. The music doesn't feel like a forced pop effort, but the piano driven hip-hop actually blends well into the album. The four-in-a-row run of excellent numbers is capped with V. Rose's vocals on "Beautiful Life." The two artists speaks out against abortion regardless of the circumstances, as V. Rose sings, "God knew what He was doing when He gave beautiful life," and Trip Lee himself defeats the argument for a woman's right to choose with the line, "Hey, don't get me wrong. Look, I agree that we should give women rights; that goes for unborn women too, give 'em life." The only song that feels a little weak or out of place is the dance inspired "For My Good." There really isn't so much of a club vibe as a straight up dance vibe on it. The track grows on you with repeat listens, and definitely has a certain catchiness to it, but it could have been left off with little to no impact on the whole.
Trip Lee collaborated with some different talent than you may be used to seeing, but it was all for the good of the album. Trip has released a near flawless album for his fourth venture that is easily his best work to date. That's a pretty big statement for a guy who has put together three solid and diverse hip-hop releases beforehand. Not only is it his best work as a whole, but it features some of his best tracks yet with "I'm Good," "iLove," and especially "One Sixteen." Do yourself a favor and pick this album up the day it drops; you will not be disappointed.- Review date: 4/2/12, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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