In the world of Gospel hip-hop, a handful of rappers are opting for spiritual lyric flows mixed in with more east coast and dirty south-vibed beats. Anyone who has been keeping an open ear to this trend already knows that most of the artists on Cross Movement Records are all about keeping it real and to the point with their no-holds-barred rhymes and club-bouncing anthems. The label's premier artist Da T.R.U.T.H. had gained massive street cred amongst his hip-hop peers with his 2003 debut Moment of Truth, and officially returned a mere two months ago with his long awaited sophmore effort The Faith.
For the record, The Faith offers messages that touch on murder, brokenness, warfare, and maintaining a strong faith in God. The album opens up with "Welcome to the Faith," which has Da T.R.U.T.H. encouraging believers of all ages and walks of life to contend for the faith that was entrusted to the saints back in the days of Jude. The declaration on this track is plain and simple with the words "So we stand fortified, salvation is ours-like four to five or six to seven, got to stick with the brethren."
Fortunately, the brief crowd shaker continues into the next track of "Our World," a song painting a vivid picture between the distinctions of hip-hop culture and the kingdom of God by giving tribute to big name rappers like the late Tupac and Biggie Smalls as well as men of faith like Martin Luther and John Calvin. Like the Cross Movement, Da T.R.U.T.H. also enjoys presenting an incredible display of old school throwbacks in songs like "Go" and "Duty" while urging Christians to obey the Great Commission and preach the Gospel to all nations like a soldier at war.
A strong turning point in The Faith is when the track "Legacy" stresses the aftermath of the slain students of Columbine High School (specifically Cassie Bernall and Rachel) and is a descriptive way of the artist saying "Live for Christ or die trying," which is an alternate reference to the popular album by 50 Cent titled Get Rich or Die Tryin. Even if the lyrics don't keep your interest, the flow and the motion of beat jumpin' tracks like the dirty south feel of "Stand," the Eminem-flavored "Civilian," and the slightly mellower Gospel Arena-vibe of "Whose Team," will keep you bobbin' your head for long periods of time. Yet another notable track is the 90's R&B sensibilities of "2 Is Better," which successfully combines plenty of vocals, flows, and rhythms in a song that could have served better as an album closer rather than following the beat bouncing melodies of the track "Stand."
Da T.R.U.T.H. has only been a major force in the hip-hop community for a couple of short years, but has been writing songs and laying down provactive and inspiring messages for more than five years. The Faith is an awe-inspiring and honest effort that takes the listener on an intimate and musical journey through the artist's heart and soul. Cross Movement Records is without a doubt one of the hottest rap labels in the Christian music industry and will continue to do so with artists that have the intensity that has been brought forth by Da T.R.U.T.H.- Review date: 12/5/05, written by Paul Portell
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