Powerful Prequel | Posted July 31, 2012 Staff Reviewer
In a grand build-up to his debut release City of Hope
, Jordan Lara ("JL") introduces listeners to his unique musical stylings with the free mixtape available exclusively at NewReleaseTuesday.com
. This is a great five-track taste to whet the appetite for what will be a full course meal (of completely different songs) being served up on Aug. 7.
The bass drops hard right from the get go. "Focus" prepares us for the journey. With all the distractions that face us each and every day, the key to walking out a life in Christ is to maintain focus. This song is heavily focused on Psalm 23. So much so that the bridge says: "Overflow my cup / anoint my head with oil / in the presence of my God I'm feeling spoiled." I don't think I've ever heard so many parables tied together in one song. JL pulls out the key verses we need for encouragement to stay focused on the narrow path and follow hard after God.
A sweet beat laid down with a kick drum and congas, accompanied by a nice acoustic guitar get your head bobbing to a "New Song." This is a man's heart cry to praise God no matter the circumstance. When we're going through the storms of life, all we need to get through is a new song. The encouraging words at the end of the track will speak to you wherever you are.
We have all had close friends that have left our lives, "Where'd You Go" explores this very personal event in JL's life. Almost set out as a public service announcement, JL speaks of how a best friend of his fell away from God while breaking his ties with JL. It is a thank-you note combined with an "I miss you." If you have a friend who you may have lost touch with, this song will flood you with the good memories of that friend and remind of the good times and prompt you to pray.
"Strength in Weakness" starts with 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, the thorn in the flesh that makes us rely on the grace of God and realize that His grace is all we need. God's strength and power is made perfect in your weakest spot. A personal reflection of his upbringing in the church and in a somewhat privileged home is not what we usually hear from hip-hop artists, but we are all human and even the so-called beautiful people can find strength in their own weaknesses. It is when we rely on the grace and strength of God is when we become fully redeemed.
JL stretches his vocal talents with some singing on "What a Day That Will Be." After the intro chorus, the beats kick with some distinctive guitar and a smooth bass line. This songs wraps up what we will hear when the full meal deal is released on Aug. 7. It wraps up very neatly all of JL's skills.
This mixtape is well worth the effort to download and reflect on the message. There is solid teaching throughout the tape and five tracks are an excellent sampling of what is to come. Musically, the sound is diverse and it doesn't fit into any one particular box in terms of style. JL took a history of rock and roll class in college and this class had a huge influence on some styles and inspiration he draws from. Enjoy the free mixtape and mark Aug. 7 on your calendar for when the full album is released.