Thug Love, the latest album from Grammy-nominated southern rap artist Pettidee, goes a long ways in solidifying the fact that there is a hip-hop sub genre of Christian music. What caught me off guard on first listen was the fact that this guy really wants to witness to others. Every song seems to have a positive purpose, with Petty purposely steering away from the common subjects that frequent most rap albums today. I bring up "other" rap albums, because it wouldn't be unreasonable to place Thug Love in the same realm as many other hip-hop albums released today.
There is no questioning Petty's mission, especially after listening to "Never Give Up," in which he raps about the trials in his life only making him a stronger Christian. "Glide Aside," the album's first track, also reinforces Petty as a Christian artist, as he tells his critics to "glide aside" as he witnesses for Christ.
"Butterflies," the most commercially appealing track on Thug Love, is also the most powerful. Dealing with the volatile issues of physical and spousal abuse, Pettidee says this about the song on his website, "[Butterflies] deals with my past and a lot of things that the church doesn't address." I can relate with him on this issue because I cannot remember the last time I heard a sermon about abuse, in fact I don't think I ever have. Featuring Rebecca Covington, "Butterflies" is sure to find a home on hip/hop radio.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most knowledgeable person in the hip/hop field. Still, from what I can tell, Pettidee truly takes "Practice What You Preach" to a whole new level. Combined with irresistible bass-instilled beats, his lyrics go along ways in bringing Christ's words into areas of American culture that Christian music doesn't often go. More hardcore than KJ-52, TobyMac, or the music of Grits, Thug Love will not be as commercially appealing as that of the aforementioned artists, mainly because most of the tracks lack a great hook to garner substantial radio play. Still, off the radio and in the streets, this kind of music is very popular. This puts Pettidee in a unique position to witness to a group of people that would typically not be listening to music containing subject-matter like this, and I feel that this is exactly where Petty wants his album to be.- Review date: 4/11/06, written by Andrew Shaw
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