The MSS tide is coming in.Producers: T.Boy, 5'0, Bradley Walker, Eddie Cole
album release date: May 9, 2000
4th Elemynt is the latest entity to come
from the Tonéx's
artist empire, and
with the full power of his artistic and production finesse behind it, their debut, Elemyntal
brings the Nureau
Gospel sound to the fore with the
debut of 4th Elemynt.
Comprised of DaWann Davis, Michael Sanchez, Jesse Davis and Eddie Cole, they bring their
West coast vibe to the exploding urban Gospel landscape by way of melody-riddled street grooves and
tight harmonies backed by smart, heavily-geared production and straight lyrics.
The album features loads of production from T.Boy and 5'0, with
Tonéx also having a hand in nearly all the songwriting. If you want to
sum it, the project hits hard in a jeepy, West coast style that hasn't been much explored in
Gospel till now. Rap elements are minimal, with an emphasis instead on the tight vocal
stylings of the group.
One of the lead cuts is "Ears/Eyes", which focusses on God's certain blessings for those who are His,
hook, "ears have never heard, eyes have
never seen, the things that God has prepared for you or me". Stacked vocals and close
deliver that line,
occasionally bringing in an occassional soulful solo voice from Eddie and DaWann. The song
appears twice more on the project, once as a short acappella interlude, and another time
as an "east coast alternative mix", which features a cameo rap appearance from 4th Elemynt's
label-mate, Reality Odio (see sidebar).
Reality Odio is the first artist from MSS Records, and offers up a stark,
hip-hop project serious
Call him a 'new mill' prophet in the pattern and lineage of the
Old Testament notables.
"Things Change" is distinctive on Elemyntal, as its free-style poetic jazz style
sets it apart. Sparse in production, strong rhythmic elements travel underneath cafe flow
poetry from guest Vickie Garcia, supplemented by additional vocals from Levi Wheeler and ACW2 (Tonéx).
This one is true poetry, reflective of the style of Proverbs or Ecclesiastes.
Hard-hitting subject matters are not avoided by the group. On the contrary,
4th Elemynt seem to relish the opportunity to tackle mature themes such as pre-marital sex
temptation ("4NiK8", "I Wanna Love You").
"We're very different from even contemporary Gospel. Real urban, real street,
real melodious, our harmonies are really tight. A lot
of people describe as the Dru Hill of Gospel music. We just
take that and roll with it...."
DaWann Davis, 4th Elemynt
Praise ballads also find their place on this project, and are something that 4th Elemynt handle well. At times,
their sound on these types of cuts ("It's My Turn", "Callin' Your Name") bring back memories
of the group Lamore (who showed much promise
with their GospoCentric debut in 1995, but have since disappeared from the Gospel scene.)
Elementyal is a showcase album of sorts, and deserves attention. With the hype surrounding
the various elements included in the project, it will probably get it.
MSS / Tommy Boy Gospel / Verity
reviewed by Stan North —
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