An Inspi[red] Leap Forward | Posted May 31, 2012 Staff Reviewer
Rhema Soul has been a group that has consistently put out great music and has made tremendous leaps and bounds on each album. They have always been a hip-hop group that has incorporated elements of R&B and a little techno. The group's emcees--Juan Love and husband and wife, K-Nuff and Butta P--take their ministry and calling seriously. They are dead set on reaching a wider audience guided by their manager and visionary, Jeff Adams.
Their latest release, Red, is perhaps their boldest move musically as they cover a huge gumbo of styles including dubstep, pop, rock, techno, R&B all on their foundation of hip hop. Andy Anderson handles the majority of the production with additional production from A.D. and Rey King.
Things start off with a bang on the title track featuring rapper This'l. The music is dubstep meets Southern hip hop. The message they are trying to convey is that there is an urgent need to bring the hope of Jesus to the many problems that are plaguing society.
"No Walking Away," the lead single, takes a more rock edge that was not heard from Rhema Soul before this album. K Nuff and Butta P sing the hook and chorus while each emcee speak on the fact that they must refocus, never retreat and go at life with fervor and determination. Hence the title, Red.
The genius of producer Andy Anderson shines throughout Red because he shows that he understands the vision of Rhema Soul and he helps to shape their musical versatility. "Danger" is a banger that matches the style of mainstream hip hop a la Nicki Minaj, Black Eyed Peas, etc. Speaking of Nicki, Butta P tackles her inner Nicki--stylistically speaking that is. But it is actually cool to hear, and it's not one of those Christian-rapper-steals-the-style-of-a-mainstream-rapper-AGAIN situations.
The chemistry of all three emcees is wonderful and it is great to hear each one tell stories. "War" featuring reggae crooner Benjah is a pop jam that goes right into the heart of societal issues. The war that they are talking about is the war on peace and how it steals the joy of those involved.
"Need An Answer" starts with some crazy synth rhythms before going to a nice syncopated beat. Singer Jai guests on the anthem "So Beautiful," which features Butta P as the sole rapper. A wonderful piano intro, a light mid-tempo beat and the layered vocals by Jai accent Butta P's message to ladies who need to be assured that their beauty comes from God. This is definitely a song that needs to be played to women young and old.
Get ready to press repeat after listening to "On My Way" featuring Ryan Stevenson. It is such an encouraging song with the chorus: "That's alright and it's OK / Imma be good / It'll be ok / Gotta move on / I'm on my way." It will resonate in your head often. Hopefully, they will make a video to go along with it! A.D. lays the funky beat on "Celebration," which is what hip hop heads call a "certified banger."
Shonlock shows off his singing chops on the upbeat/electro, "Stop the World"--a song about the power of God's love. Could this collaboration be a preview of a tour?
Red is just what the world needs. Rhema Soul tackled some real issues that are going on in society. They made a huge leap of faith to broaden their horizons musically and thematically. If you have been a fan of theirs for the last five years, take this journey with them because they have not forgotten about you. Those unfamiliar with the crew, this is a great album to pick up and it will be a musical and spiritual highlight for you. They are not a scripture-quoting group, but yet they clearly deal with things from a Biblical worldview.