Yet I offer these hoops I was hurled through
My metamorphoses that changed my truth and my worldview
This, the first in a few music reviews and recommendations I will be writing, is about one of the sharpest and smartest rappers that I know of in hip-hop. The quote above is from his opening song, and sets out what he is offering on the album: an account of his own struggles with Christianity, the shifting in his thinking as he investigated further, and the changes that occurred in his life as he turned to Christ (his metamorphoses).
It is difficult to pick higlights out of what really is one big story, but I will have a go. “L.A.W.” is an explanation of man’s guilt in the sight of God (by not Living Acknowledging [His] Worthiness – L.A.W.), and is a helpful approach on a very important subject. “H.O.O.P.S” is one of my two favourite songs on the album, in which Evangel has been taken to an evangelistic sports tournament by his Christian friend (played by Israel Felix) where a pastor is giving a talk (played by Shai Linne – what a treat!). The song moves between the pastors talk, Evangel’s objections and his friend’s prayers seamlessly, and is a big encouragement in the power of evangelistic talks and of praying for friends. The following track, “Crossroads”, combines a haunting and dramatic instrumental to the internal battle of Evangel as he faces up to the truths of the Gospel and realises he needs to make a response. Three tracks later, “New Life” celebrates the joy of 2 Corinthians 5:17 – being a new creation in Christ Jesus.
I can sum up my recommendation of this album in one word: freshness. I have heard too many Christian rappers speaking out cliches (I’m guilty of this myself when I get lazy), whereas Evangel is brutally honest and is not scared to tackle difficult subjects. His instrumentals are well produced and musically excellent, but never threaten to take the focus off the truths he is rapping. The quality of lyricism is constantly high, and he manages to combine excellent wordplay (“please stop the bull like a matador”) with exposition of biblical truth (such as pointing out in “A Good Thing” that man being without woman was the first time God called something “not good”). Like in my earlier feature on Shai Linne, the highest compliment I can give Evangel is to say that I have seen more of God’s truth through his music.
Find out more about Evangel and listen to his tracks here – http://www.myspace.com/evangel33
You can pick up the album on iTunes & Amazon MP3, or if you are in the USA then at http://www.merchline.com/lampmode/productdisplay.7337.p.htm
Grace and peace to you all,