Trin-i-tee 5:7
Spiritual Love

Trin-i-tee 5:7 takes a step out and rolls their eyes at the proverbial sophomore jinx. Their second release on powerhouse label B-Rite Music won't leave fans disappointed, as they return to their flava-ful mix of R&B, hip-hop and Gospel. Although heavily criticized, the truth of the matter is thatSpiritual Love CD Trin-i-tee 5:7 never shies away from either component of the words that make up their musical category —contemporary and gospel.

This release also marks a change in group members, as Adrian Anderson ably takes the place of now-mom Terri Brown, joining Angel Taylor and Chanelle Haynes to ensure the reference to their ensemble name makes sense on a numerical level.

The packaging —the beats, the rags —is unapologetically modern, but the content (the lyrics, the overtone) surely scripture-based and rooted in goodness.

"Put Your Hand in the Hand", is one example of how Trin-i-tee takes the old and merges it with the new. Producer Armando Colon mixes up two classics from different genres adds a little new millennium spice and instantly, an infectious hit is born. Even if, after first listen, you don't think you like it, the sheer tune familiarity will etch its place in your brain and cause you to hum this one....especially if you were a child in the eighties! Then there's the bookend remix of the cut, which is placed in the hands of Kenny M., who elects to drop in a sample of Toni Braxton's hit, "You're Making Me High" into the musical stew.

Dealing with current issues in a manner that is both useful and realistic is a tough order. On "My Body" Trin-i-tee addresses the issue of abstinence. Though the musical sound might remind you of the millions of songs out there that encourage promiscuity, this one speaks clearly and with authority, "My body is the Lord's temple!" and manages to do so without sounding trite and sheltered. It's not "Just Say No!", it's HOW to say no.

In tribute to the women in Gospel that have cleared the path, the trio pay homage to Shirley Caesar, Albertina Walker, Mahalia Jackson and Mattie Moss Clark. Joining the renowned Tramaine Hawkins for a spin on a revised "Highway Trin-i-tee 5:7to Heaven", they again render a nice delivery on something old, made new. That degree of novelty includes some nice production from Joe Wilson, as well as supplemental lyrics from labelmate Natalie Wilson, and backing vocals from her SOP Chorale.

Crystal Lewis makes a noticeable guest appearance on the Freddie Jerkins production, "I Promise You". And the last-minute addition to the project is also a high profile one, for in a flashback to the "God's Grace" mega-hit on their debut, "There He Is" brings the songwriting and and production of R. Kelly back into the picture. In fact, for those who like working homemade mixes, the vibe to this cut is an obvious candidate for a sequential mix with "God's Grace". Are we talking about another smooth balladic hit all over again? Probably!

The noise surrounding this project echoes that of the first project. It's amazing what controversy a few amped-up tunes can bring. As for the Jesus-shy lyrics, one doesn't have to strain too hard to understand who Trin-i-tee means when they say "He". Let's be real. There are lots of standard hymns that don't mention Jesus by name ("Amazing Grace" for one), that by that criteria, we'd have to tear out of our hymnbooks for not mentioning His Excellency by name.

All things considered, Spiritual Love is a well rounded project that is worthy of a listen. While it is true that Trin-i-tee 5:7 may have packed away their Easter Sunday dresses and traded them in for some Dolce & Gabbana, it will be apparent to those who take a closer look that they haven't traded in their bibles.

Producers: Armando Colon, Fred Jerkins, Joe Wilson, Robert Smith etc.
album release date: December 28, 1999
B-Rite Music

reviewed by Melanie Clark and Stan North

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