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It has been two years since Swoope’s last full-length album, ‘The Zoo’ - an album that brought the artist almost instant recognition in the Christian Hip Hop community. Swoope releases his sophomore album ‘Wake Up’ on Collision Records, boasting a certain clarity of thought that, while present on ‘The Zoo’, has been refined like iron ore for this release.

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In 1971, the Funkadelics released Maggot Brain, an album as unity-preaching as it was genre-bending. The record begins with legendary guitarist Eddie Hazel’s empathetic guitar solo over a minimal acoustic scale, setting the remainder of the album into a tailspin of confused life stories.

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D-Maub is everyone's favorite feature. He has truly been gifted with the ability to body every work that he steps up to. As far as I can recall, there hasn’t been a feature spot I’ve heard that I haven’t enjoyed from this Cincinnati native. When D gets on a track he is guaranteed to overwhelm listeners with his lyrical prowess. For the sake of “total beat dismantlement” one could refer to him as the Busta Rhymes of Christian Hip-Hop, but he’s truly in a league of his own.

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Careful. While music is, by definition ‘an expression of emotion’, we must not be so ignorant as to give such creative leeway to a Christian artist. And God forbid giving it to an entire GROUP of such musicians.

Enter stage left Sho Baraka, Swoope, Suzy Rock, J.R, collectively known as High Society. Their first album, Circa MMXI: The Collective’is as expansive as World Music or a Phil Collins record. In a genre that has pigeon-holed itself as extremely methodical and predictable, High Society has managed to build an album that can easily be listened to from beginning to end. In fact, it would be an injustice to oneself to skip even a single track on this album.
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Twenty-plus years ago, MC Ren and Dr. Dre posited that writing a successful hip hop song was a pretty simple formula: “You’re either talkin’ ‘bout the place to be, who you are, what you got, or about a sucker MC.” I’ve always been irritated by such a simplistic take on one of my favorite art forms. Hip hop is an extremely effective story telling medium, and I was reminded of this as I started digging into Theory Hazit’s latest release, Thr3e.
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Thi’sl is back with his third album, Beautiful Monster. The St. Louis native illuminates on this 16 track album that sin appears to be good but in the end destroys. Thi’sl creates an album that automatically remains on replay. I find myself constantly enjoying the sonic presentation and lyrical delivery.

Thi’sl begins the album with an introspective introduction. The soulful Swoope produced Beautiful Music starts out with “Life can be a monster, that’s why everyday I wake up it’s the one I’m trying to conquer.” Thi’sl goes hard with 3 minutes of verses with no hook over the live instrumentation. The verses set the tone for the project. The introduction is followed by the Geeda produced Let It Knock featuring PRo. The production begins with repeating synth based siren sounds followed by snapping snares and a knocking bass. This song instantly adds a dose of adrenaline to the listening experience. Thi’sl adds that, “they tried to leave me dead out on the block. But I’m here and now I’m about to turn this thing up and let it knock.” PRo contributes his amped styled flow to the song. The fireworks on the JR produced First 48 sets the stage for an amazing look into a real life story. Thi’sl brings a stop and go flow mixed with a raspy and deep vocal tone. His flow fits well with the spooky sounds, army marching feet, stutter snares and hard kicks. The song is a reality check for those that feel that they are immune to the streets.
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As a strong advocate of hip hop, I talk about it quite a bit. Whether I’m conferring with other hip hop heads, or those who are not particular fans, I like to think that my love of great production and strong lyricism is infectious. I like to point out that, at its best, hip hop is modern poetry, and every bit as viable as beat poets like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, or 20th century romantics like Dylan Thomas. If you’re looking for proof of this, look no further.

On their new album, Never Arrive, theBREAX, a hip hop crew/band based in southern California, deliver not only tight beats (featuring live instrumentation) and stirring lyricism, but also an aspect of honest, no-compromises spoken word poetry. Main group members, Ruslan, MicB and Beleaf are all spoken word poets whose work in that vein features in between several tracks on Never Arrive. If this doesn’t sound like your particular brand of soda, wait. In addition to being spoken word poets, they are also quality purveyors of hip hop.

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It is very safe to say that men do not have the position & influence in our culture they once had. When Beyonce declared that “girls run the world”, her statement was not met with a drop of opposition. All over the media men are emasculated, from sitcoms to talk shows. Other than ESPN, the voice of men in society has been reduced from a lion’s roar to a slight whisper. Even in hip-hop, the majority of topics that MCs divulge in (i.e.- sex, money, & prestige) are used to garner the attention of women.

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If you’ve listened to Christian hip hop for any length of time, chances are you remember, or at least have heard of, Uprok Records. For the uninitiated, Uprok was a hip hop based sub-imprint of Brandon Ebel’s Tooth and Nail records, and was responsible for releasing several landmark Christian hip hop albums, including Tunnel Vision by the Tunnel Rats. The Tunnel Rats were a huge crew, and some of their members had a tendency to get a little bit lost in the shuffle. Luckily, Uprok was good to the Tunnel Rats posse, and put out numerous solo albums from Tunnel Rats crew members. In 2002, one of those albums was Stop the Music by New Breed, a group consisting of brother and sister Macho and Elsie Ortega. Based on that album, and his contributions to Tunnel Vision, I knew that Macho Ortega was someone to watch.
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Rappers aren’t writers! Are they? That’s what most people think. “They just rap there isn’t much depth to them”. But what happens when a rapper realizes there is more to their life than the music they create? That’s where Malice of The Clipse comes in. With a desire for people to see the man behind the music he lays it all on the line in his debut book “Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked”.
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.25 (55 Votes)


With The Required Taste, veterans Othello and DJ Vajra are coming for the number one spot. What the listener can expect is soulful, jazz infused hip hop paired with conscious wordplay. It's a project that will definitely cater to those starved for the classic, golden era sound.

Othello, perhaps best known for his work with Lightheaded, seems to thrive when working with specific producers. He and DJ Vajra, a gifted turntablist and beatmaker who handles all the production on the album, tap into their funk and soul roots to create a sound that is both mature and expressive.
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.73 (578 Votes)

Lecrae is back with his fourth studio album: 'Rehab'. His previous projects displayed his passion to be unashamed, encouraged believers to live for Christ after the music stops and be rebels. Rehab conveys the message of rehabilitation, redemption and recovery.
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.10 (29 Votes)

Since the beginning of recorded music, there has been one constant: record labels. For the most part, they come and go, especially on the independent scene. Labels like Sun Records, Sub-Pop and Metal Blade have all shaped different genres in music, and have even heralded changing trends. Some of these labels live on for an extended period of time and some are absorbed by major labels.

Unfortunately, the shelf life for most indie labels is very brief, and Christian Hip Hop is not immune to that particular business truth. In the past 20 years, labels like Frontline, Grapetree, Reserved Records and Uprok were well respected, but have since gone the way of the dodo. They've been succeeded by labels like Reach Records and Illect. However, since the 90s, one record label* has continued to thrive and provide solid hip hop with a spiritual message: Syntax Records.
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.57 (76 Votes)

St. Louis native Json has become a very familiar name in Christian Hip Hop. He has been turning heads and getting verses re-winded since he was first heard on the 116 Clique compilation in 2005. As an independent artist, he went on to drop two noteworthy albums: 'The Seasoning' and 'Life on Life.' The latter created such a buzz, that Lamp Mode Recordings picked up the unsigned artist and released a remastered version of the album last year. On his third album, 'City Lights', Json seeks not only to paint a stark picture of the inner-city, but urges the church to be the much needed illumination to dark streets.
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.56 (9 Votes)


Griffin, if you didn't know is a Tunnel Rat, Scribbling Idiot affiliate and one half of the duo EDM (Mouf Warren of SI being the other half). Griffin is one of my favorite emcees and this was before his solo debut album ‘Samson’ was released. A lot of fans of The Tunnel Rats have been waiting for a Griffin solo effort since the 2005 self-titled TR release. Here we are five years later and End of Earth Records releases Griffin’s ‘Samson’.

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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.91 (22 Votes)


What makes a healthy church? Lamp Mode and 9Marks have teamed up to let Christians know. Utilizing the “9 Marks of the Church,” (created by D.C. Pastor Mark Dever) Flame, Trip Lee, shai linne, Tedashii, and others seek to communicate the characteristics that aid in the health of the church. This album is a perfect marriage of weighty doctrinal teaching and quality rap music. Learning has never been so worthy of a rewind as it is here.

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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.29 (14 Votes)


In the vein of City High, The Fugees and Black Eyed Pea's, SoulJahz came on the scene as a rap trio made up of two brothers and one sister. The lil sister, like L Boogie, can rap and sing with the best of them. Honestly, their first release caught my attention when Christian Radio wasn't playing much Christian Hip Hop in San Diego County. "Rap Revolution" was a dope cut that local San Diego Christian Radio was spinning. The song featured some dope lyricism which included rhyming every possible word ending in "ation", that you could think of and then some. The brothers Joshua and Jekob had a Onyx / Wu Tang-esque flow which I was feeling at the time. Then a few years passed and they released "The Fault Is History" which was a more pop mainstream album that included a couple re-done cuts off their first indie album. They started touring and doing their new music more like pop singers rather than rap stars.
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.65 (55 Votes)


In the four short years since his debut album 'If They Only Knew', Trip Lee has became one of he most recognizable artists in Christian Hip Hop. His love of down south beats paired along with his mid west flow, and 116 Clique membership, have made Trip Lee universally accepted. With his last album '20/20', Trip displayed insight on life that betrayed his young age. On his third album 'Between Two Worlds' Trip continues to provide unique insight on the world and it's ills. The album is focused on the believer living in this old fallen world while awaiting the glorious new world that Christ will inaugurate at His return.

The album opens up with "Real Life Music" where Trip Lee contrasts his brand of Hip Hop from what is usually played on the radio. Over a sample driven melody with sharp drums he riddles off lines such as "Too many spit that fake rap most just can't relate to / they don't got no Maybach they don't get to make rules / They ain't tryna make stacks they just tryna make do". This is a great intro and prepares audiences for a very accessible album. Trip more than ever seems to exert himself in communicating gospel truth in terms the average listener can easily grasp. Much of the album focuses on conveying the struggles that come along with living in a fallen world. The issues mentioned are not only things that Christians can identify with but many unsaved people may identify with even more.

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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.47 (19 Votes)


In 2009 Legacy Music Records emerged from seemingly nowhere to drop one of the most talked about independent albums of the year, Katalyst's 'Death by Design'. The album was welcomed with critical acclaim because of its stellar production and mature lyrical content. These factors made it very hard to believe that it was made by a new artist who most had never heard of. With the release of Decipha's 'Rep' the label once again introduces us to a new artist whose music far surpasses his notoriety. In the process they provide listeners with more of the same high quality, Christ-Exalting Hip Hop, Legacy Music is quickly becoming known for.
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 5.00 (3 Votes)


If you are currently a college student or have ever been one you are undoubtedly familiar with the concept of a cram session. They are typified by large amounts of caffeine, blood shot eyes, and high stress levels. For those unfamiliar with the idea a cram session is a group of students coming together to shove as much information into their head about the test they should have studied for a week ago. This is done with varying degrees of success. However, even if you’re a seasoned vet of last minute late night study groups nothing has prepared you for a cram session like this.
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LISTENING SESSION


DJ Anomally Dreamteam EP
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