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Friday, October 8, 2010

Humble Beast Humble Beginnings Vol. One Review

Label- Humble Beast/Syntax
Not too many compilations are ever worth the listen, even when you put the best artists together. So I normally approach such projects with a “win some, lose some” attitude. Well, Humble Beast smashed that to bits for me. Some of the most respected cats in Christian rap came together (much like Voltron) and formed a “Humble Beast” a new movement aiming to take on the hip hop culture with their brand of creative, real and truthful hip hop. With guys like Braille, Odd Thomas and Theory Hazit on the team, there’s no need to overemphasize the resulting success. The concept is simple; emcees with beastly delivery yet humble enough to serve Christ with their gifting.
On Humble Beginnings Volume One there’s quite a lot of storytelling, cool production and mind-blowing collaborations which makes for a neatly done project. As brief as 11 tracks, this project is a solid argument for the case “hip hop is not dead”. With each cat bringing his own experience, style and craft to the table we are privileged to hear and experience the best of the best.
Kicking off with what seems like an unusual yet impressive intro for this type of project (a Pastor Eric Mason sermon excerpt), you know you are in for a good listen as you slide down the track list. “The Dream That You Gave To Me” with Braille and the late Citizen Aim (RIP) is a simple and awesome joint, a pledge to make god’s business one’s business. Sareem Poems serves up a nice metaphorical story about “The Beast” on “The Story that’s Rarely Told” and then there’s the banger “Humble Hungry” with Theory Hazit, Odd Thomas and Citizen Aim. Each cat spitting solid verses over a beat that’ll be hard to get out of you head. Propaganda weighs in with “Beautiful Pain” an unusual but truthful ode to pain and by the time Odd Thomas ends things with “Truth Wars” you’ll probably get upset that the album’s done! Each song gets you thinking and for me that’s the beauty of this project; rap for the “thinking man”. The production of each beat is excellent and the mixing comes across beautifully except for a few cases where I couldn’t hear Citizen Aim’s verses properly. I loved the emphasis on live drums on most of the songs, a rarity nowadays.
I really can’t wait for Volume Two, whenever and if it ever comes out. I can’t help but wonder that if they call this humble, what’s next???

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