Lecrae's "Rebel", IN STORES NOW!
That statement is completely unnecessary as it seems Lecrae’s Rebel debuted higher on the Billboard Charts than any HHH album ever (breaking his own previous record) and even outsold top-name secular hip hop artists both on Billboard and iTunes downloads. This is the new and true meaning of “crossover” music… an unrepentant, deep, powerful promotion of Christ, Christianity and the Gospel with beats that are not only on a par with the secular but have even surpassed much of it. Add to that one of the best deliveries in the business and maybe the most ingenuity and creativity in hip-hop period, and you have a guaranteed banger and chart topper!
One of the big surprises is that many of the tracks pulled back a bit and took an almost east coast blend with the mid-west step and swag. There were more slower tracks than expected as well, but that didn’t seem to detract at all from the near perfection of Rebel and its power. But slower tracks and east coast blendings were not the extent of the creativity in Rebel. Lecrae took it back a couple of generations in hip hop with Fall Back’s techno blend and Live Free’s electronic additions. While looking back, Lecrae not only managed to continue to push HHH forward, but also gave a major push to hip-hop in general. It doesn’t matter the region, Lecrae and the 116 Clique have proven that the best of every region and even every form of music can be adjoined in perfect harmony. A harmony that no other artist or crew has ever managed to find and create like Lecrae and the 116. But don’t think the end, the plateau, has been reached. There is always something new, something different that can be found and achieved. One thing may be certain. It will probably be Lecrae and the 116 Clique leading the way.
For those familiar with the 116 Clique and HHH many of our favorite artists have typical appearances with Lecrae on Rebel. The naturals Tedashii and Trip Lee, CMR monsters Da Truth and JR, golden voiced Cam and the newly respected 116 Clique member (though he’s been there a while) Sho Baraka all make dynamic appearances in this album. However, the best feature on the entire album comes from a complete unknown to almost every one. Appearing from England on the debut single is Dwayne Tryumf. That name, Tryumf, is one that we might need to come to learn and know. Who ever thought England had this in its dugout, or for footballers on its bench. It’s no surprise then that the incredibly talented Tryumf makes his mark on the #1 gospel & HHH album on the market. Two other relative unknowns also make solid contributions on this album as well, Jai on Live Free and Dawntoya on closer Beautiful Feet.
Features to the side now, let’s talk about the cover, packaging and the insert. The cardboard cutout made another upgrade from Trip Lee’s “20/20” with an easy to use insert slot and the continuation of consistently brilliant artwork. Couple that with a simple use of the insert mostly used to provide some essential definitions and the building of the theme for Rebel and you have a complete project from top to bottom.
As far as production goes, it’s hard to consider it as anything short of perfection. Every little bit and tittle seemed to be carefully produced and engineered. New names to the game like G-Styles continue to make their mark with the 116 Clique and now usual standards like JR and So Hot Productions combine with others like DFREE and Kadence to create a fantastic array of traditional and new, mid-west & hip hop genius.
Overall, Lecrae managed to immediately explain and define the use of his theme Rebel, which normally garners great contempt in Christianity. He did so not just with his own L’s, but by taking a great sample from one of Mark Driscoll’s sermons. Lecrae did all of this while continuing the theme and keeping Christ the focus throughout. In fact, one could argue that Lecrae rebelled from the standard hip hop and mid-west conventions in creating some new sounds, styles, expectations and blends for the ever evolving entity known as Hip Hop. Somehow what Lecrae seems to do is make the complex simple and the simple, complex. This is all done while continuing to malign the greedy and those in lust with sin, dropping some apologetics, creating head bangers and chants, repping Christ, the church and the street, and pinpointing and further exposing sin. Lecrae even managed to insert an interlude that wasn’t completely annoying. In fact, it was quite good and doesn’t elicit an immediate skip on my player.
The only thing left to wonder now is… how come you haven’t bought this album yet!? Or, for that matter, is there anyone left who hasn’t?
If it were possible to note… Stand out tracks:
Rebel (intro)… no really, the intro is dope!
Don’t Waste Your Life (debut single) ft. Dwayne Tryumf
Go Hard ft. Tedashii
Identity ft. Da Truth & JR
Breathin’ To Death
Desperate ft. Cam
Fall Back ft. Trip Lee
Live Free ft. Sho Baraka & Jai
I’m A Saint
The Bride… are we getting the idea?