As previously stated I'm slowly getting into hip-hop. With this art slowly gaining momentum in Christian circles, one of the longest running hip-hop artists, Grits, blows the rest of the field away. Having been one of the older bands in music and having several albums under their belts, this rap duo has certainly not lost any talent. With perhaps one of their best albums ever, The Art of Translation, Grits explodes onto the Christian scene showing these youngsters how to perform and gaining national celebrity on the secular market.
Art is produced by Toby Mac of dc Talk fame. Having toured years ago together and already having a bond set up I'm sure made this a fun recording. Toby sings along on "Ooh Ahh" and Knowdaverbs and even Jennifer Knapp sing along on this album too. The album is smooth lyrically, lacking those annoying space-fillers like "yeah, yo, uh-huh, word and check-it" like on some inexperienced artists' albums. The only time it appears on the album is as a back-up harmony. They guys from Grits know how to flow. "Runnin'" features an artist known as V3. "Be Mine" is a song written for one of their wives.
"Tennessee Bwoys," "Seriously," "Get It," and "Make Room" are more upbeat and fast, but Grits still enunciates each word so it makes it understandable. "Video Girl" features Knowdaverbs, "Believe" features Knapp, which is different from what Jen Knapp fans would think. Her vocals are a nice addition to an already good song. "Sunny Days" features Nirva Dorsaint. "Lovechild," one of my favorite songs, is a slower ballad, that talks about God's unconditional love. "The Art of Translation" opens with some nice strings and features Dorsaint and numerous other artists. I'm a big fan of classical music and strings in hip-hop offer a nice addition. Just when you think the song is over, a woman comes on singing opera and that closes out the album.
Also unlike some Christian hip-hop, Grits talks about some serious topics that often get overlooked -- like marriage and purity on "Be Mine." "Lovechild" talks about God's love. "Runnin'" talks about running away from God and your problems. "Ooh Ahh" talks about relying on God during the hard times in life and God leading us along during those times. "Video Girl" talks about girls who fall into the traps of societal pressures found in society. And topics like belief, faith and what success really means.
Overall the album is very good. Out of 17 songs I only dislike two or three songs. It is produced well and deals with topics that need to be addressed. It has real beats and each song flows well. There is a good variety of heavier songs, slower songs and several people that are featured on the album for a nice array of Art.- Review date: 12/2/02, written by Kevin Chamberlin
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