It's rare to mention the words growth, or maturity when referring to a debut album. However, in the case of B-Luv's project, Growth, you don't need to wait for a sophomore project to see his maturity in life or music take shape. You're witnessing it first hand.

Growth is a 15-song journey packed full of features that will have you asking yourself "Who is this guy and why haven't I heard of him before?"

The effort's dramatics start with "Opening Night", a masterful blend of lyrical flow and production that rises to a crescendo. Produced by Darion Ja'Von, the song pulls you in and doesn't let you go... for the rest of the album! The ensuing track, "All of Me", picks up where "Opening Night" left off, with mid-paced, hard-hitting beats, dramatic strings, guitar rifts, and bass runs that make you forget you are listening to a rap album.

CDThere's a hint of comedy in the intro of the testimonial "Graduation Day", which quickly slides into substance once the song begins.

Augmenting "Pomp and Circumstance" is a brilliant concept, bringing in Isaiah Tate for a tit-for-tat style lyrical duet, with B. Reith adding finishing touches.

The best part about this album is that nearly every song has its own feel, from the head-banging tracks like "unTitled", "Grow" and "The Gospel", to the smooth "Guidance", "The Vow" and "Lover Of My Life". Each cut can be generalized in category, but you can also distinguish each track on its own merits. Kudos to B-Luv's production team for great song selection and placement.

The feature list on this album is, well, ...a VIP list. Stacking the deck for the project is Da' T.R.U.T.H., J.R., Jai, Co Campbell, Leah Smith (and others), each of whom compliment their respective songs with out overshadowing B-Luv, which is admirable.

Although the album is entitled Growth, it doesn't mean there are 15 songs of testimony. The gospel message is clearly evident, well delivered and very easy on the ears. With messages that span from chasing and hiding behind church titles, to working to gain God's approval over man's, you're seeing this young artist coming into his own.

One aspect of this album that separates B-Luv from many current Christian Hip hop emcees is you are immediately introduced to Brandon Johnson. It's almost as if his alias, 'B-Luv', is a Hip hop formality. The result is that you hear transparency as opposed to projected image, worship over self-boasting, and triumph over tragedy. B-Luv gives you himself.

This is an album for all lovers of music, hip-hop or not. If you add Growth to your collection, you will not be disappointed.

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Production: Various
album release date: August, 2013

— review by Andre Griffith

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