The beats are something new in the Christian Hip Hop scene, and something not often seen in Rap in general – think Flying Lotus and Brainfeeder’s general output and you’re on the right track – this is that electronic, bleepy, experimental-type production. The tracks vary in pace, “Motive 1, 2” is quick whereas the title track and the majority of the rest are more down-tempo. Lush sustained synths accompany the complex, staccato, found sound rhythm patterns, creating something startlingly ethereal.
Braille and Odd Thomas’ rhyme style suit the production perfectly. Whereas both can flow flawlessly on more traditional beats, the rapid-fire, spoken-word aesthetic on show here is, again, something fresh in the scene. The MCs play off each other well, for example on “Entitlement” and when they join forces for a chorus they are harmonious and catchy, see “An Open Letter To Whoever’s Listening”; one of the albums stand-out tracks.
Lyrically this album is outstanding – the content is this album’s absolute strength. The inclusion of all the prose-like lyrics in the digital booklet gives you that old-fashioned listening experience and the lyrics read very well and make for great material for meditation. Read More Here
Instruments of Mercy
1. The Experience
One of the things that always made hip-hop so great was the experience it can create. Hip-hop has the ability to take you from where you are and place you where the artist wants you to be. It accesses feelings and emotions that nothing else can. Hip-hop has been largely void of a lot of experiences recently. Full album experiences have become a rarity, and hip-hop has suffered because of it.
Instruments of Mercy is the exception to this idea. From the very first second of this record I was completely enthralled with every sound and word. The production grabs your attention, and you just sit awestruck at the beautiful sound being presented through your speakers. As you bask in the production, you eagerly await the vocals, and when they come, they mesh with the production in a way that blocks out all other thoughts. Instruments of Mercy is captivating.
Beautiful Eulogy did a great job of making music you can feel. You don’t just hear Instruments of Mercy, you feel it. This is a record that lives and breathes with the listener. The style of music that Beautiful Eulogy creates makes is experiential type of music. Instruments of Mercy is a different type of hip-hop album. It has a folky feel to it, there are a lot of unique sounds in the production and the album is arranged differently. All together, this record is unique, but beautifully unique. This is what makes the experience of Instruments of Mercy so special.
2. The Message
This has always been the most important part of Christian Hip-Hop, because without Christ, you just have the mainstream game. Beautiful Eulogy has made this an important part of what they do. Since the group’s inception, they have pushed forward nothing but a strong Christ-centered message. Their mission has been less about the music and more about what their music has stood for. They use their awkward and off-center style to find new ways to present the gospel message. This was perfected on Instruments of Mercy.
This record’s message falls in line with the title, and speaks repeatedly about mercy. Beautiful Eulogy dove deep into the topic and essentially gave the listeners a lyrical bible study. “The Size of Sin” breaks down why we need God’s mercy, and “You Can Save Me” explains how merciful He really is. It’s not just about God’s mercy, the trio makes clear the importance of our own mercy on “Blessed of the Merciful.” Mercy isn’t the only topic Beautiful Eulogy tackles. They run through several other topics on the journey through this record. As great as the message is, there was more to it than just what they say.
The method in which Beautiful Eulogy presented the wonderful gospel message was just as beautiful as their name implies. Instruments of Mercy felt like a worship record. The sound and tone of the record had a worship feel to it. The way each track was arranged brought you to a place of introspection and worship. Everything Beautiful Eulogy did felt like an offering of praise and worship to the Father. The best part of that is that they bring you with them. You will experience God in several different ways on this record. This can be a tool used to teach, affirm, reinforce and inspire the listener. Itreaches the listener in a spiritual way unlike any album that has come out recently. Instruments of Mercy encompasses exactly what a Christian hip-hop album should sound like theologically.
There is a fine line between hip hop, and poetry. With the beat as the backbone to the record, most hip hop tracks are able to dial into the melody and tell a story through song. Poetry on the other hand is a little bit more freeform. It takes true skill and talent to combine the two to the point of being indefinable. Beautiful Eulogy managed to do just that.
First and foremost, the introductory track Weight was extremely impressive. The word play within the poem was able to draw parallels to my expectations based on its title, as well as enchant me with its background. While I was impressed with the amount of thought that went into the word play, some of the rhyme schemes seemed a little hokey at best. Not to say that I was entirely disappointed though. This first track, while not flawless, was still a solid foundation for the rest of the album.
What separates Beautiful Eulogy is their moderation in their delivery. They can cause suspense, apprehension, and excitement simply by their speed and meter. This is something that I am not sure that I have ever seen in any other artist to date. A quality this pronounced though should be complimented by something else. Speed is great for conveying urgency, but if that is the only resource an artist is working with, the two emotions that they will elicit from me will be the feeling of being rushed and calm. For this particular album, that could work, however it does get rather repetitive.
My favorite track on the project entitled “If…” is a great example of both what this album excels in and what it lacks. The speaker imagines of a time where he will be able to sing for joy in a savior. The delivery is spot on, and the hook underneath is perfectly placed. The issue is that there is no excitement in these words. Without it the track is not nearly as powerful as it could be if those words were matched with some type of feeling behind it. In an abstract kid of way, I can imagine the artist hoping that the listener would be able to project those feelings themselves, I however cannot.
Lyrically this was a strong release. I mentioned before that the word play and flow were impeccable. Some of the literary devices used in this project (Especially the alliteration and repetition aspect) really complimented the author’s intention of desire in tracks like “Sovereign” and “Slain”. Whether that repetition be musical or vocal in nation it helped get the point across. .
In conclusion, “Worthy” was a solid release. The production of each track was spot on and the lyrical development was far more advanced than I was expecting. The delivery has left the group room to grow, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Despite some of my reservations I would still pick up this album for a few reasons. My preference in delivery is just that, a preference. It does not take away from the message they are trying to get across. It simply means that you may have to pay more attentions. Who knows, you may completely disagree with me. You can’t know until you check it out for yourself.