Bringing it real, raw and relevant while preaching the Gospel | Posted August 16, 2013 Staff Reviewer
There are some rappers whom with first listen, you can what region they are from or what city they are from. It can be a combination of the manner in which they rap, their accent and the beat choices. This is definitely true for rapper Corey Paul.
Corey lives in Houston, Texas, a place where he saw many harsh and rough times growing up. This is also a place where he disrespected and broke the hearts of several women. Thankfully he gave his heart to Jesus at age 17. Fast forward and he is now a part of Frontline Ministries, which is a collection of rappers with the same vision as Corey to bring Jesus into the streets. He releases the properly titled, Grace, Love and Mercy, an album full of jaw-dropping storytelling, mad energy, passion and an honest approach that will help many.
Corey puts it all out there on the intro track, "Grace Love Mercy." He kills it lyrically over a dirty South banger! From the beginning you know that this man has been through a lot and has a great deal to share. He mentions watching his mother shoot his father, which would be enough to devastate a child. Dre Murray's passionate delivery meshes well with Corey's Southern drawl as they paint some vivid pictures on "Black Hearse." Of course when I saw the name, "Body In the Truck" featuring This'l, I was convinced it was almost a part 2 of "Black Hearse." However I was mistaken. It is symbolic for how each rapper's old way of living is dead due to surrendering to Christ. They also talk about dying daily to the flesh, but it's set up as if that flesh and old way of living is a dead body in their trunk. Louie Gray is responsible for the eerie piano loop and the beat that flows perfectly with the subject at hand.
"Ridin Round My City," produced by Mr. Inkredible, hits on the fact that Corey sees God in so many things, but not in the hearts of man. This will be one that could really spark discussion. I like the simplicity of the chorus with Corey singing one line. It works.
It is always good to hear artists dedicate songs to uplifting woman or reminding women of their worth. "Picture Perfect" serves that very purpose. Anthony Silas, sounding very similar to Wille "P-Dub" Moore Jr., sings the hook: "She say, she don't like pictures and cameras make her nervous / Searching for the limelight / couple shots just to get her mind right / And she's been down for so long / Streets turned her out, we trying to put her own / I want you to know that you're worth it / Baby you're picture perfect."
"What Do You See" is a chilled out song that has some "Selah" moments as Corey looks to Jesus in spite of the dreadful experiences he and others have experienced. Frontline co-hort Reconcile matches passion on "Tears Roll" while Anthony Silas' voice is basically smooth like butter. Did I say that?
There is a lane for Corey Paul and I am so glad that he is doing music. There are people who have been them situations that they feel no one else could understand. Thankfully there are artists like Corey Paul, This'l and Dre Murray who are bringing the combination of their experiences and the hope of Christ to give those people something to identify with. This is an impressive album with only a couple of down moments. I hope that Corey will be able to speak at schools, youth groups and regular church services because he needs to be heard. He is living this "Grace, Love and Mercy."