Mark Arthur
The Obligation

Mark Arthur has been a name that has been around Holy Hip Hop for a while now, and he has been guest on a few artists' projects.

His first release on Rocksoul Entertainment is titled The Obligation, and features a Who's Who of artists, including R Swift, JR, label mate Michelle Bonilla, Eshon Burgandy, Keren Sabir and Jai, just to name a few. To say that he is making sure that he builds with co-laborers in the industry is an understatement.

CD JR drops by to add his smooth crooning and butta' backing vocals on "Away From Here" while Mark Arthur brings the East Coast flow. Arthur speaks candidly about the trials of society, but yet showing joy and optimism of how Christ will one day return to take us away from it all.

"Street Symphony" is a beautiful song with a simple syncopated beat (thanks to Fitzgerald), heightened by the strings. Michelle Bonilla helps to give this song a sure-fire pop feel to it. Anyone who has faced death in the family can identify with this song. The string solo at the end is great (but might have be cut short for radio play purposes).

This project would have so much more potency if the mixing could have been better —something that Arthur will no doubt look to improve on his next release. "Who" comes with a harp solo and nice, but the spoken word and Arthur's message of Christ's crucifixion takes the lead. Just when the song gets good, it ends.

K Drama and Pee Dee, (who also lays the nice track), totally wreck their verses on the up tempo banger, "Get Up", this giving Arthur some very nice company on the mic. He then brings in fellow Philly brother, Young Joshua on "Looks Can Be Deceiving". These brothers certainly let us have it as Hasaan Muhammad handles production.

If you have a song that needs some gritty East Coast flavor, who else do you call on? R Swift and Eshon Burgandy of course; which is just what Mark did with the head-nodder, "Salute". Don't skip over Arthur's verses which flow well with the other two.

I am a huge fan of storytelling over a dope beat. So thanks to Mark Arthur for the potent, "Old Skins" featuring Keren Sabir. Veteran Tru-Life, (of Crossmovement) provides the banging beat.

The Obligation is a solid release that can be enjoyed by those who love Hip Hop and want real talk with the focus on pointing people to Christ. Even with some of the mixing issues, I recommend that you pick this one up.

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Production: Various
album release date: 2011
Rock Soul Entertainment

— reviewed by Dwayne Lacy

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