A Mixed Project | Posted April 07, 2012 Staff Reviewer
Jekob and Rachel Washington--the brother/sister team known as The Washington Projects--are one of Christian hip-hop's best-kept secrets. While their low-key status plays a role in their eased career, these two are far from up-and-coming musicians.
Formerly members of the sibling trio known as Souljahz with their eldest brother Joshua, the two rode a gigantic wave of success in the early years of the millennium with their first project, The Fault Is History, The album was critically acclaimed on all fronts, not only earning the respect of the Gospel Music Association with five Dove Award nominations, but earning coverage on secular outlets such as Billboard and E! News--still a rarity at the time for a Christian act of any sort.
That fame didn't last long however. After Joshua's departure to focus on other pursuits, the remaining two faced a grueling battle with their record label regarding their follow-up project, a battle which ended in the duo shelving their sophomore release, and ultimately, leaving the label.
After taking a several years off to recharge their spiritual batteries, they emerged again in 2007 under the moniker The Washington Projects and have since released two albums--Commanders Of The Resistance and 2010's Light Up The Dark.
While their schedule looks far simpler these days, their dedicated fans remain, and it was their following they had in mind when stepping into the studio to create their latest effort, Space Time Continuum--a remix project taking songs off their last two studio albums and revamping them in a fresh new way.
The ultramodern party starts off with "Work (Intergalactic Public Transit Mix)," a fun tune about how life isn't an easy ride to get what we want, and how we'll need to work hard and trust God to get where He wants us to be. It runs a little long, but it's a still a great upbeat dance track. "Time (Spiral Galaxy Mix)" is a sharp and intergalactic remix about value of time on earth and our need to spend it wisely.
"Diamonds (Get Out Of My Face Cubic Zirconia! Mix)" is a fun title to pronounce, and an even better song. Superior to the original version, I can see secular radio formats drooling to get this on their playlists, not to mention it boasts a far better message than most mainstream songs, talking about the worth of a woman being found within.
"Move (Devine Sines Mix)" starts slow and picks up the pace, while "Crazy (Space Junk Mix)" sounds just that--quirky, fun and original. "She Can't Love You (3AM Blacklight Mix)," while my least favorite song lyrically (coming from the perspective of a jealous lover) the R&B infused melody will be ear candy to those who enjoy that style of music.
"Justus (4th Spatial Dimention Mix)" comes as a melodically dark re-telling of one of the duo's deepest cuts about the hard knocks some people are unfortunately faced with in life, resulting in a plea for God to give them justice. "Light Up The Dark (Dark Matter Mix)," one of the band’s more popular tunes, becomes a club DJ's dream remix, although, not at hooky as the original.
"My Dream (Wicker Park Mix)" brings a funky auto-tuned flare and transitions directly into "Zephyr Wings (Chicago Discotheque Mix.)" The tale is of yet another love story gone wrong and, despite its undeniably catchy beat, almost makes you want to press the skip button with its somewhat dim lyrics.
Bringing this high energy project to a close is the lovely "Yesterday (Northern Lights Mix)," a lighter tune focusing mainly on Rachel Washington's powerful vocals and the blunt lyrics about loving one another despite our differences.
While I'm a huge supporter of The Washington Projects sonic evolution since their early days as Souljahz, I can't say I feel the same way about their lyrics. Wanting to reach a wider audience has found the two tackling topics typically unsung in Christian music, and while this can sometimes be a great thing, when the topics range from casual flirtations to revenge, it can be a hard pill to swallow. Nevertheless, these two are still some of the most honest songwriters in the industry and their truthful approach to the word of God, when shared, is unmatched by anyone else in their genre. Their last effort, Light Up The Dark did this beautifully, offering truth with very few compromises. I hope to see that become more of a focal point in future endeavors.
Space Time Continuum is a well crafted remix album, taking the best songs of their re-launched career so far and completely restyling them to fit today current musical trends. Full of lively dance club inspired beats, it is sure to become a highly sought after piece for diehard fans of the group to enjoy.