Hip-Hop Snapshot (1)

We’ve been in earshot of these hip-hop snapshots. Deeply independent, these projects deliver combinations of rhymes and beats that further add to the growing body of Gospel lyrics draped in hip-hop culture.

Obadiah One
Let The Truth Be Told
Stay Ready Records
Obadiah One CD Take note from his moniker, this artist hits the lyrical edge hard, and compounds the message with equally blunt and abrupt approach to his flows, tossing in ample poundingly heavy beats. Variously schooled in rabbinical theology and Hebrew studies, Obadiah One testifies to Jesus Christ as the only Way in his prophetic rhymes, bringing in deep topics reflected in titles such as “Rumors of Wars”, “Don’t Prayer Hate” and “Repent or Perish”.

Memorable cuts include the latin-influenced “Between Two Testaments”, featuring Urban Legend, and the lighter "Inspire Obadiah" which highlights smooth-flowing rap poetry from Nubian Experience. "Bible Man" could be considered the theme track, and is the focus of the hard-hitting concept video from the album. With Black Spade hooking up the phat beats, this project is a 17-track, heavy hip-hop winner.

Mars Ill
Raw Material
Sphere of HipHop
Mars Ill CD Using diverse hip-hop influences to create ‘raw’ hiphop soup, Mars Ill is the epitome of underground Gospel hip-hop, displaying originality, hard-spitting topics, creative freedom and entrepreneurial web marketing to boot. Veteran crew members DJ DUST and soul heir the manCHILD rely on the basics (two turntables and a mic) to deliver flows and, needless to say, a hefty dose of scratches.

Any attempt to define killer cuts must include "Black Market" (featuring melodic elements and contributions from guest emcee, Playdough) and "Monotone", which rides on a minimum of vocal tones par excellence, bringing hip-hop praise to God. Other highlights include cameos from Sev Statik and Flyn Adam Akins (on "Try Again") on select tracks. Seventeen cuts, two instrumentals —there’s no shortage of depth. Bottom line here is that you need be bumpin’ this wax if you want to keep up with the underground scoop.

The Raven
2K A.D.
Metro One Music
The Raven CD Hailing from the same hip-hop stable as veterans T-Bone, K2S and Priesthood, The Raven spreads his wings on this debut from the Metro One label. With his California-based ministry already responsible for some still circulating independent releases, his ministry is serious and sincere. The Raven’s testimony and holy warfare speaks of a prodigal experience, and his presentation and rhymes reflect that. "Unmask The Predator" is a prime example.

Regarding beats, the lyrical impact would be that much stronger with improved production and a sound that lines up more with today’s scene and tomorrow's vibe.

Various Artists
MC's & DJ's
Rahab Records
MCs & DJs CD Newcomer Rahab Records puts the emphazise on holy fun on this complation of vocal rhymes and glory beats. Much of the material moves along on soft bed of R&P beats and smoothed out vocals, which serves to support the melodic skills from various artists who take turns on the mic. In fact, with this much smooth, it might be a stretch to call the project hip-hop. The MCs and DJs referenced in the title track include Deuce, Chris Ezell, D. Latif Alston, Keith Brown, plus several others.

The theme of encouragement prevalent through many cuts is worked to the max with the use of melodic instrumentation (title track) and selective use of choir ("It's The Spirit"). This enjoyable project will find a welcome home in those who may not expect it, should they make a judgement based solely on the album title. Look for more to come from Rahab.

— reviewed by Stan North

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