Sometimes people try to discredit rap and hip hop, by saying things like "They're just talking, anybody can do that. That's not talent!" These people have clearly not heard RedCloud. RedCloud can take any beat that you throw at him, and flow over it with such skill and lyrical versatility that it's nothing short of mind-boggling. If you've ever seen his live show, you know what I'm talking about, as doing several freestyle sessions is a staple in his shows. While sometimes it does seem like the words he's using don't really say a whole lot, it's impressive how he can bring up all kinds of words and phrases seemingly out of nowhere to make an effective rhyme. He first displayed his talent in 2002's Is This Thing On?, released by Syntax Records - the same label with which he released his follow-up sophomore album, entitled Traveling Circus.
After the circus-themed introduction starts us off, the album quickly jumps into the title cut, with beautiful music and beats that you can just about always expect from RedCloud's producer, sirROCDOMZ (aka, Tim Trudeau). Along with the music is Cloud's topnotch rhyming ("Handling the pandemonium for a moment, dude I'm a shogun focused on an open case and I'll close it" which later leads into "Word to Syntax academy, daddy, baddest vocab in the galaxy or the sky or the sea, hotter than Mexicali be"). Give it a listen and see if you're not impressed. And that's not really even his best, considering tracks like "Battle Star Galactic" ("Headed for the pedigree, deader than the beat or the feet of a centipede recipe, better go retreat hypothetically, heck I'll never let it be, heck I'll never let it be") and "Bonifide Xtreme" ("But the problem is you copied sloppily but got me not, you need a proper cup of coffee from a copper coffee pot"). RedCloud has an incredible way with his vocabulary and wordplay, and added to his ability to speak fast when necessary, it equals an amazing emcee. And what's even MORE impressive is that he can incorporate God into the equation as well. "Never Let You Go," which features Sherwin Gardner and a small return appearance by Christafari, is focused on the Savior, while also focusing on overcoming temptation and the victory that Christians will have in the end over sin ("Hurricane Annie can't run through my brave Daddy, but Christmas, He gets dissed for cane candy, but hey man, I cannot wait till Satanny straight stirs in the furnace and burns like Miami"). A few songs later, "War Party" talks about the battle between good and evil ("War, what is it good for? Nothing! My Bible begs to differ so I've figured it's something, look how insane it has gotten, fighting Hussein and bin Laden, I pray protection for the innocent on top of the mountain"). RedCloud is truly using his skills and talents to reach the lost and encourage other believers.
This is easily one of the best hip hop albums to be have ever been released in Christian music (and to be honest, it tops a lot of the mainstream junk out there too). RedCloud is just hard to beat, and anyone who doubts just has to give Traveling Circus a thorough listen. Even the least of the songs, "The Coming," is good after a couple listens. It stinks that it might take you a couple listens to really get into it - at least it did for me - but after you do, it's a good song to have kept on the playlist. There's very little to not like on the whole disc. We already covered the lyrics, and even the music, the beats, and the overall feel of each song is near perfect. Syntax's webstore, Quality Junk, is one place you can find this disc, and if you're a hip hop fan and you enjoy tremendous talent, you'll find yourself wanting to head over and pick this one up. The songs will get stuck in your head for days, and you'll wanna listen over and over again.- Review date: 11/8/08, written by Scott Fryberger
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