The Gospel Gangstaz
After a three-year layoff, The Gospel Gangstaz are back on the scene with a powerful new album that is bound to keep your head bobbin' for a long time to come.Producers: Various
album release date: October, 2002
The Exodus marks only the fourth album in the group's twelve year existence; this one proves to be well worth the wait. This album jointly releases on Camp 8 Records (their own new record label) and Native Records, and features 15 tracks of innovative, thought-provoking music that was birthed, in Tik Tokk's words, out of "creative freedom".
Just as the children of Israel walked through unchartered territory in their exodus, the Gangstaz do the same in this project as they kick it off with a collaboration with funk legend Bootsy Collins. Collins teams with the Gangstaz on the funky "Gangstaz Don't Dance" and educates us to the fact that "gangstas don't dance but they boogie". The extremely infectious hook along with the West Coast funk sets the tone for a very funky ride.
However, just when you think you have the double Gz figured out, Tik Tokk, Mr. Solo and Chille Baby change the game on you. The Gangstaz introduce live instruments to this project, with almost half of the album taking on this welcome element. It lends itself to a vibe that is comparable to that of The Roots and The Fugees, and gives the Gangstaz a distinctive edge in the holy hip hop arena. The vibe is smooth and reflects the Gangstaz maturity.
On "Watch, Pray, Live Holy", Bobby Ross Avila makes a welcome guest appearance adding his awesome vocal stylistics to the song. With hot lyrical flow from Camp 8's Apostle (from the Sonz of Prophets), this track is yet another hit to add to the Gangstaz growing list.
"Trouble Don't Last" finds the Gangstaz rhyming over another smooth instrumental groove while partnering with Ahriah who sings powerful ad libs on the track. Ahriah's vocals are also featured on "A-O" and "Change" which advises listeners to embrace change if it's the right type of change. Her skills will definitely warrant repeated spins on your CD player.
Be sure to check out "Heaven Awaits Us", featuring hot rhymes from new Camp 8 artists, City Mac and Elway, with Gangsta member Tik Tokk singing the hook.
Proving that they can't be put into a box, the double Gz hit us with some serious funk on "Scream". This in-your-face track features labelmates Elway, City Mac and Mike B. It also features some serious reggae flava from TorneMan who represents the islands like nobody's business. If you love reggae funk, you've got to play this track.
Album Review: The Exodus
The Gospel Gangstaz also have upcoming collaborations with some of Gospel's biggest acts. "Yolanda Adams was supposed to do something on this album with us but due to time constraints, it wasn't possible. However, she has committed to it. We're going to do something with her and she's going to do something with us," says the ex-Blood member. "Fred Hammond has something......|
See full interview with Tik Tokk.
The Gangstaz also show us their humorous side with two interludes designed to poke fun at some familiar stereotyped characters frequently found in the church. Imitating ‘phony ministers’, the Gangstaz act out a church service that highlights many of the stereotypes that can accompany ministry. The over-the-top nature of the interludes express the Gangstaz high level of comfort with their unique gift while showing the world how comical people can be when they attempt to inaccurately classify God's representatives.
Though there are a number of collaborations on this project, it is the strength of the Gangstaz flow that will keep this one on your top 10 playlist. Without question, The Exodus marks a new beginning for the West Coast trio. Though there's a new sound and a new label, it's that same Gospel Gangsta creativity and lyrical flow that we've come to know and love.
This project will definitely satisfy existing fans while creating a platform for a new audience. The Gangstaz are back and craftily share their Exodus experience with us.
Native Records / Camp 8 Records
reviewed by Gerard Bonner —
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