I was talking to someone I know about Andy Mineo and his new album, but he never even heard of the Reach Records artist until his girlfriend told him about him recently. We were introduced to him on Lecrae’s single ”Background,” from the album Rehab. At that time, he was going under the name C-Lite. After that, he changed his stage name and has been building up a following since he signed with Reach five years ago and it looks like the grinding has paid off. When he dropped the first single from his debut album, "AYO!", Rapzilla said Heroes for Sale was "definitely the most anticipated album of 2013.” Well, now that the album is out, It looks like they were right! The album sold exactly 27,898 units in it’s first week of release. It broke the record for the highest first week sell debut of any Christian Hip Hop artist. Billboard has the album at #11 on the Billboard 200, #4 Rap and #1 Christian/Gospel. The only Christian Rap album to move more units in the first week is Lecrae’s ‘Gravity’.
Heroes for Sale blends a variety of Mineo’s musical influences including hymns, heavy metal, hip-hop, and classical while unveiling a personal side of the hip hop artist. Mineo strips back layers of his own life in Heroes for Sale and gets real with his audience to reveal his authentic self, letting them see into his brokenness in hopes that they will identify with that.
I noticed two main things when I first listened to this project. This is a very transparent and honest album. I also noticed that the songs and production on this joint are a little different from the other stuff Reach has been putting out. I’ll get into both points a little more later.
What does Heroes for Sale mean? The message here is that there are heroes for sale in the world. Heros like sports stars, actors, rappers, preachers, even the President of The U.S. will always fail you. Andy is saying these people will always let you down, but the real hero, Y’Shua (Jesus) will never fail you.
The single “AYO” is a nice gumbo blend of sounds like dub step, rock, hip-hop, and a good taste for all the flavor you are about to experience.
In a chat with allhiphop.com Mineo says,
“We make heroes out of a lot of things. We make heroes out of people. We believe ourselves to be greater than we really are. We make ourselves look like heroes to other people. What I really wanted to do is show the brokenness of the heroes that we create and the heroes that we try to be in order to show that there is ultimately only one great hero [God].”
The album gets the party started with “Superhuman”. The track gives you a nice taste of what you will hear from the rest of the project. The hymn at the beginning, “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy,” has an epic and dark feel. A good way to open because this album will take you to a dark place. He gets blunt and real with you so you see he’s no Hero. He has flaws like every other man.
“They fool’s gold, instead of looking for them sundresses, I should just be looking for the Son. I confess it. Even though my pride is telling me, don’t ever let the fans know. I am not a superhuman though, I’m a man so the grace that I talk about on all of my records. I need it for myself cuz really I’m just a mess.”
I’m a sucker for beats that are musical, and this joint brings it with a light rock feel with and a dose of keys and strings. Oh and to top it off, that’s Andy harmonizing on the hook.
He continues to get transparent throughout the album. He gives you the real about his personal struggles like unfortunate past decisions on "Curious" to lust on "Shallow" to his relationship with his dad on "Bitter" to his relationships with people who are not saved on "Wild Things."
When I heard “Wild Things” for the first time I thought about the ministry of Y’Shua (Jesus). It gets into the issue of the saved fellowshipping with the unsaved. The Pharisees always got on to Y’Shua for eating with sinners. We have modern day Pharisees that do the same thing today. “Welcome to the church in the wild. I live with dudes that ain’t been to church in a while. I chose this lifestyle. You ever met my friends? Porn stars, dope dealers, they like why you chill with them?” The track is injected with heavy metal reminding me of a Limp Bizkit, Korn or even POD type of sound and it does not sound forced.
And speaking of unsaved and secular artist let’s talk about “Tug of War” Featuring Krizz Kaliko of Strange Music. Let’s just say Strange Music is nowhere close to Christian. Some people might be wandering where the collaboration came from but to be honest it works musically.
“Momma praying for me. Grandma praying for me. Satan preying on me. Jesus waiting on me cuz I been straddling the fence. It’s time to make decisions. I been thinking bout heaven lately. Don’t think I’ll get it cuz I been going back in forth. I love the way I’m living, but I hate it at the same time cuz I know I’m sinning.”
Krizz goes in on the hook,
“Back n forth like a tug of war cuz I been fighting for my life like trying to get my life right, and I really want more of you.”
When you get a Reach project you are guaranteed Reach, Unashamed, 116 anthems. Some people say they are getting old, but lets be real they will never stop because they are good for shows. Trust me. When you hear “The Saints” featuring KB & Trip Lee you will want to hear that joint performed. But what’s mind blowing is the direction "Uno Uno Seis" (That’s 116 for all those who failed Spanish in high school) featuring Lecrae & Derek Minor on the hook. Critics say Reach’s Anthems sound the same. This track does not sound like anything Reach has ever put out. Musically, the producers Alex Medina and Andy Mineo brought the fire and sprinkled this track with some Latin, Techno and House seasoning. Both Andy and Lecrae deliver on the bars. Both if even spit in Spanish.
The guy you hear singing hooks on most of the track is actually Andy Mineo. Yup, not only does he rap, he sings. A lot of people have been saying he sounds like Drake. He even says he does at times. There are times when I think he sounds more like Chris Brown when he sings on "You Will" and “AYO!,” which if you listen close you will hear it sounds a little like a song called “Hero” By Nas featuring Chris Brown. Either way, I don’t think it takes away from the quality of the album.
This album kind of reminds me of a classic joint called AWEthentic that Enock dropped in 2003. AWEthentic was a heavy and dark album that was very transparent. Enock really opened up about what he was going though like confessing sexual addiction. The album was real and blunt. Some people said it was too blunt. But you know what? I like music like that. It’s honest. See a lot of Christian artists want to front like they have it all together. Personally, I can’t relate to an artist who is perfect. Andy is saying look, I’m not perfect. I’m a man who deals with things, but God is working on me. I connected with him on this joint because he got into things that I deal with too. Now that’s what I call “keeping it real.”
I’ve said this a few times in my reviews this year, but 2013 has been an amazing year for Christian Hip Hop and it’s only April. We’ve had a lot of great music come out so far and this project is one of them. I can’t call Heroes For Sale a classic yet. I think we have to wait and see, but it’s definitely an album I would recommend to every Christian Hip Hop head. And if you know a brother or sister who is not saved, play this for them and let Yahweh go to work!
|Heroes for Sale
- Superhuman (5:01)
- Ex Nihilo ft. Christon Gray (3:34)
- AYO! (4:04)
- You Will ft. Kam (4:09)
- The Saints ft. KB, Trip Lee (3:58)
- Caught Dreaming ft. for KING & COUNTRY (4:04)
- Bitter (3:39)
- Shallow ft. Swoope (4:46)
- Wild Things (3:44)
- Take Me Alive (3:25)
- Uno Uno Seis ft. Lecrae (4:34)
- Cocky (3:16)
- Curious (4:26)
- Still Bleeding ft. Co Campbell (4:06)
- Tug Of War ft. Krizz Kaliko (4:32)
- Death Has Died (3:59)