All or None
Regardless of genre, it is imperative that an artist have a trademark. Whether that is a specific sound, look, or type of content, there must be something that distinguishes you within the market place and makes you different than every one else.Producers: Original Sound, Sevin
album release date: September, 2001
With that said, enter Sevin. This West Coast rapper enters the scene with his debut release titled "All or None". The Sacramento native has ties to urban duo The Kenoly Brothers (sons of famous praise & worship leader Ron Kenoly). He debuts on their own Next Generation Ministry Records.
With ties this musically diverse, which way would Sevin's musical presentations lead?
Well, from the opening track to the final beat, this album in a word is "different". A look at his album cover will tell you that he's really shooting for a different vibe. The imagery is almost gothic with Sevin being solely surrounded by seven candles. The dark feel finds its way on the album as he delivers a powerful and potent message in modified 'gangsta style', amid tracks that are far from what one may expect from a rapper.
The leadoff cut, "Genesis" is symbolic as it merely marks the beginning of the "Sevin experience" as the MC freely speaks his mind on a variety of issues preparing you for his 15-track journey. There are some intriguing stopovers along the way which will keep folks talking for quite a while.
Sevin's lyrical content and instrumentals will grab your attention, with some lyrics being are catchy, and others being downright controversial. Throughout the album, he refers to his peeps as hogz, which represents his brothers and sisters who are 'Hooked on God'.
On "Represent", Sevin states his undying devotion to representing Christ in the world and establishes himself as a hardcore spiritual soldier. From here on in, Sevin launches a hard-hitting, in-your-face, hardcore offensive against the enemy, an attack that is not for the weak of heart. Tracks such as "You Know" and "Full Clip" fit this mold. So does "All or None", a fast-flowing number which features The Kenoly Brothers supporting with soulful vocals.
Sevin switches gears completely on "Breaking Down", taking the time to show us his softer side. He puts his emcee persona to the side and merely sings us a ballad in which he declares his dependancy on Christ. This slow and gentle worship also highlights his solo piano skills.
As for those controversial lyrics, they are certainly memorable, making you wonder what Sevin will say next. On "In Tha Breeze", he joins forces with partners RMB, Prolific, and Apokalipz. Together, they deliver make a very different comparison as they state, "What you asking fo'…/ You already been told / The devil is a pimp / so don't be his ho."
Sevin also delivers a "Symphonic Sermon" which perhaps qualifies as one of the longest rap tracks in holy hip-hop history. This street proclamation is almost ten minutes long and is laced with unique instrumentation (synth-based medieval harmonic choruses frequently emerge) and choice lyrics. He never swerves from difficult issues of the street, addressing the fact that young believers can, and often do come from histories that include prostitution and other seriously sordid evils.
So is it controversy or raw talent that makes this album interesting? It's both. One thing that can't be disputed is that Sevin is definitely hardcore and has launched a potent lyrical attack on the enemy.
Next Generation Ministries Music
reviewed by Gerard Bonner and Stan North —
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