I first got into the Christian hip hop scene in the early 2000's. The Cross Movement, KJ-52, Ill Harmonics, and Knowdaverbs were steady doses in my life during those days. When I began listening to Royal Ruckus' The Summer of Cicadas for the first time, I felt as though I were transported back fifteen years to a time when CHH was a fairly small segment of music taken seriously. There were way too many artists who were giving it their best attempt, but honestly falling short of making solid rap albums. One of the groups that I missed back in those days was Royal Ruckus, and The Summer of Cicadas is their latest release. If you have the time to check it out, sit down and relax because this album has thirty tracks full of eclectic hip hop tunes. According to their website, the duo of Chunjay and Flatline have never stopped making music and purposely remained underground while growing in life and music.
As said, if you plan on checking out this entire album, you may want to set aside a good chunk of your day since The Summer of Cicadas is a thirty-track ensemble. Sadly, even with so many offerings, most of the songs aren't worth checking out more than once. The production is nothing of note and the lyrics are mostly simplistic in style and depth. On the bright side, "Moment of Zen" displays a head noddin' hook, while "Making Nice" has enough uniqueness to come out great. Some of the featured artists (Pigeon John, Bonafide, Krum, Joey the Jerk, and Manchild) make the album a little better than it could have been, but in the end, this is a laborious listen and one that many of today's rap fans won't enjoy.
In conclusion, the only real redeeming quality about this release is that it may bring back some of those memories of the golden years of CHH. I personally loved hearing verses from Bonafide and Manchild again. The rhymes are fairly basic while being light and fun, so I can't see people getting upset over playing this on repeat; I just don't see many fans of modern rap tunes wanting to play this at all. I personally doubt I'll listen to it again except for maybe the tracks featuring some of my favorite old school rappers, and even then I'm not so sure. However, if you are looking for something reminiscent of Blake Knight or Pigeon John, these thirty tracks may be exactly what you are looking for. If that's your taste in hip hop, this is right up your alley.
- Review date: 2/2/17, written by Kevin Hoskins of Jesusfreakhideout.com