One of the long-running issues I have had with Christian music is that some groups and artists seem to be copying secular music. They come across as saying "Hey, look at me! You can love Jesus and still be cool too." I agree that Christians can have fun, but I don't think we need to hold ourselves to the world's idea of fun. T-bone's new album gospelalphamegafunkyboogiediscomusic seems to be trying to do just that.
First, he gives the listener a "Hip-Hop Announcement," which I thought was a funny way to start off the record, but then T-Bone gives us the "Intro" as the next track. Wait - wasn't the hip-hop announcement the intro? "Intro" is merely T-Bone informing the listener that they're about to hear a record with a Gospel message and taking almost 2 and a half minutes to tell us. I don't think this was necessary as the album could and should have moved on to the first real song "Blazin' Mics." "Blazin'" is a good opener, offering a smooth and med-tempo and tells us his reason for rapping is Christ. "Once Upon A Time" is a slow and funky track that tells the listener of who T-Bone was before he became a Christian and how Christ changed His life. The title track follows, featuring hip-hop legend KRS-One. This song was my personal favorite track on the record, one suitable for dancing to. "Welcome to California" follows, just another unnecessary song about being from Cali. "Dippin' Interlude" appropriately leads us into "Dippin'" which features Mista Grimm. This is really one of those ego-tripping songs that just really turned me off. Is the world's idea of what is cool and valuable something we as Christians need to hold ourselves up to? We don't need money or cars to find peace because the only thing we need is Christ. Anyway, I understand it's part of who T-Bone is and how he was raised, but it just doesn't sit well with me.
"Can't See Us," featuring E-dog, is a good smooth funky track which is followed up by "Still Preachin'" which reminded me a little too much like something I've heard from Dr. Dre. gospelalphamegafunky... closes out with "Our History," which T-Bone uses to set the record straight, as he sees it, about the history of Christian rap. I think this is something Christian hip-hop listeners need today. Many people don't know the struggle that Christians went through to bring hip-hop to the church and I enjoyed this little history lesson from T-Bone.
Now, if you've liked T-Bone's records in the past, you're likely to dig this one as well. However, I'm not sure if it will bring in new listeners. Many of the songs are med-tempo and don't venture much new musical territory. Also, many of the songs follow the same theme of "I'm cool and still a Christian." Now don't get me wrong, I love T-Bone and his music. I know he loves Jesus and wants to see lives changed for Christ. I know he has brought 'Holy' hip-hop to new places over the years, but I just think he needs to stop holding himself up to the world's views of what "cool" is and what a "good life" in their eyes is.- Review date: 1/29/03, written by Matt Vest
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