Is The Narrative socially conscience or Christian? Is it a protest against racism or a celebration of black culture? Is it a sermon or a confession? Or Maybe it is both?
The Narrative tells the story of the metaphorical character James Portier who symbolically represents the plight of the African Americans in the American experience. It’s a journey that involves spiritual insights, social commentary and personal reflections. To help place the narrative in its historical context, a specific year is included in the song titles which reveals a milestone in Mr. Portier’s life.
The journey starts with the “Foreword, 1619”. The year is significant because in 1619 Africans were first bought and sold by European settlers in North America – so it’s natural starting point for James Portier, and the listener.
Sho manages to tackle serious topics such as systemic economic racism in My Hood, USA, 1937 (the year when the Federal Housing Authority established redlining – a practice that legalized housing discrimination and the lost of untold amounts of black wealth) while still maintaining his characteristic, playful wordplay. At one point chiding copycat emcees:
“How you sound outdated when you copying The Future?”
So while this project is deeply committed to addressing social issues, Sho doesn’t take himself too seriously. The catchy, dance jam 30 & Up, 1986 (30 years ago) features Grammy™ award winning artist Courtney Orlando (formerly known as JR), a live band and reveals that Sho Baraka can still be the life of the party! The video reflects Sho’s fun-loving, romantic and comical streak.
Sho creates a narrative that seeks to make room for a faith and culture integration that embraces complexity. In Maybe Both, 1865, Sho seeks to add nuance to the overly simplistic view of American history that sees the founders solely as inspirational revolutionaries while ignoring their slaveholding legacy and role in enshrining discrimination in our system of governance (such as the 3/5th Compromise in The Constitution). He also questions the popular dichotomy of viewing Jesus Christ as either an exclusively otherworldly Savior or merely a radical social activist. Maybe America is a great nation of opportunity, yet also greatly flawed due to its historic failure to live up to its own vision. Additionally, maybe Jesus is a spiritual Savior and the iconic model for righteous resistance against injustice. Sho challenges us “Maybe it is both”.
The spiritual undertones of the album pushes back against the anti-supernatural bias in a post-Christian and secular age. That bias reveals itself in how people discredit Christianity because of the atrocities that (so-called) followers have done in its name. Sho reminds the listener that though those with an atheistic worldview have also been responsible for evils and racism in the world yet their worldview is not rejected because of it. He asks:
“Is God to blame for our intentions?/Like scientists didn’t bless the world with eugenics.”
Conversely, Sho highlights the contributions of activists inspired by the Bible’s appeal for social justice. Names like Phyllis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey, Mahalia Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and others are woven into The Narrative to give honor to these faith-inspired activists and challenge us to walk in their footsteps. In the tradition of C.S. Lewis, Sho employs a defense of the Christian faith by arguing, among other things, that the very concept of truth and morality insists on a transcendent Truth Giver. At the same time Sho warns the faithful of the perils of ignoring God’s mandate to do justice: it leads to hypocrisy, suffering and a lack of effective Gospel witness in the world.
The Narrative doesn’t just take aim at major historical and theological themes, either. In what has become his signature, Sho is brutally honest in sharing his own struggles to live out his convictions and vision. He unflinchingly reveals his personal battles with the allure of fame, the frustration with his financial struggles, and – perhaps most vulnerably in Words, 2006 – the challenges of caring for his autistic son. Sho turns a sound booth into a confessional and bears his soul. Vulnerability like this is a rarity. Hardly a track goes by without some reflection of a personal shortcoming. This helps prevent The Narrative from being preachy but more of a memoir not only of James Portier, but also of Sho Baraka. And it’s difficult not to be impacted and inspired by such self-disclosure.
- Forward, 1619 (feat. Adan Bean & C. Lacy)
- Soul, 1971 (feat. Jamie Portier)
- Kanye, 2009 (feat. Jackie Hill Perry)
- Love, 1959
- Here, 2016 (feat. Lecrae)
- 30 & Up, 1986 (feat. Courtney Orlando)
- Profhet, 1968 (feat. Jamie Portier)
- Maybe Both, 1865 (feat. Jamie Portier)
- Excellent, 2017
- Road to Humble, 1979
- My Hood, U.S.A., 1937 (feat. Vanessa Hill)
- Words, 2006
- Fathers, 2004
- Piano Break, 33 A.D.
Social Club Misfits MOOD & DOOM
Social Club Misfits dropped The EP's MOOD & DOOM as a complete album, MOOD // DOOM. This release includes a few remixes. Let me know what you think
All Minds Clear - Taelor Gray & Jonathan Baker
Propaganda & Derek Minor - Nothing But A WordPropaganda and Derek dropped a collab EP called ‘Nothing But A Word’. Peep It here and let me know what you think
- Dope (ft. John Givez)
- Contradiction (ft. Aaron Cole)
- Change (ft. Daniella Mason)
- Fallen (ft. Tobe Nwigwe & Liz Vice)
Kanye West - Jesus Is King
West’s follow-up to 2018’s ye was initially teased back in August, when Kim Kardashian West hinted at its release by tweeting a photo of a handwritten tracklist and the date September 27. On the night of the 27th, Kim announced that the album would arrive two days later. It did not materialize.
At several points on the album, Kanye references the 13th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which established the abolition of slavery. The text of the 13th Amendment reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” On the song “On God,” Kanye raps, “13th Amendment, gotta end it, that’s on me.”
Read More Here
Thi’sl - Small Thing To A Giant (STTAG)
Thi’sl dropped his long-awaited album Small Thing to a Giant (STTAG). This just might be his best Album. What are your thoughts.
2. Talk To Me
3. This Is Not the End ft. V. Rose
4. Sugar ft. Courtney Orlando
5. Let’s Get To It
6. War Torn ft. Fiend
7. Pinnacle ft. Jarrel Lomax
8. Activated ft. Courtney Orlando
Selah the Corner dropped ‘Hoodie Season’ 3 on October 11 from God Over Money.
- Trigger Dedication
- Gone Fishing (feat. DJ Mykael)
- Yams to the Repass
- Cocoon Funeral (feat. Bumps Inf & A.I. The Anomaly)
- B.C.A.D. (feat. Hurt)
- Welcome to the Trap (feat. Stefanotto & Datin)
- Skyline (feat. Lavoisier & Rigz)
- T.I.N.Y.C.h.h. (feat. Rigz & Jewelz)
- Sede Vacante (Bonus Track)
Eshon Burgundy - 'For the Love of Money'
“..FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL...”
...but it is also Eshon Burgundy's latest and arguably, best album to date. Arriving more than three years after his last full length project, in 'For the Love of Money' longtime fans will find an Eshon filled with conviction and passion in an experience reminiscent of what they found in their favorites from the Philadelphia, PA emcee. Newcomers will find a master craftsman who weaves in and out of each song with skill, conviction and creativity. With sonic landscapes from NFTRY Members Rising Son and J. Rhodan, as well as DaBoomSquad, Carnegie and Tommy Black, 'For the Love of Money' presents the freshness of Blood Rushing to My Head, the grit of For God's Sake, the polish of The Fear of God and the creative courage found on The Passover; vintage, and yet it feels like the beginning of something new for Eshon Burgundy and the NFTRY.
Listen to 'For the Love of Money' Here
// ALBUM COVER (DESIGNED X ESHON BURGUNDY, ZARA ROYALTY, DR. ARSHLEY EMILE & BRIAN THE BLOVED
Krum And Theory Hazit - Here’s Mud In Your Eye
Back in July, hip hop veterans Krum and Theory Hazit announced that they would be joining forces on an album. They began to campaign and promote this album with a series called “Muddy Mondays,” and on every Monday either songs from the project, unreleased tracks, or announcements would be dropped on their Instagram accounts. They have already given the fans some treats with a 9 track mini project made up of songs that didn’t make the album titled ‘SPAT.‘ This project was released as a cassette tape only project with some exclusive merch attached. Krum took to Twitter last weekend to tell the fans or “Road Dogs” to save up their money as they had a big announcement to make on Monday(September 2).
Stream The Album Here!
They announced the name of the album ‘Here’s Mud In Your Eye’ and released the first single titled “Pop The Cork.”The format of this album has Krum on the lyrics and Theory Hazit on the beats. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!