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G-Notes - Bright Lights Magic City

Bright Lights Magic City threatens to burst at the seams with thick beats, sweet loops, and crisp, streetwise Miami lyricism. This southern Florida rapper drops an album that is as smart as it is fresh. (And I use the word “fresh” in that 1980’s sense that we need to recapture.) This is new skool sound informed by old skool storytelling.

“Bright Lights” intros the album and the beat is slow and deliberate as G-Notes explains that it is Jesus who directs our paths. It’s not the fast-paced track one might expect to get the party started quickly, but Notes seems to want to dedicate this project to God and establish early on for the listener that this is not another Christian rap CD that is Christian only by virtue of the fact the artist confesses Christ in his private life. Party track or story track, this project is all about Jesus for G-Notes.

Allow me a sampling of some of the more notable tracks.

“Stunna Shades” takes over from here and this is the lead song off the album. And, I gotta tell the truth. This track is absolute buttery hotness. This is one you’ll drop the top to…in the winter. And, if you listen to the lyrics, you’ll realize the stunna shades aren’t worn to show how sweet Notes is. Rather, the shades are worn in order that he can walk through this life undistracted by the flashing lights clamoring to draw him away from his mission.

“American Dream” features K. Nuff on the track and is a lesson for the listener that reaching for everything we see is not necessarily going to bring us what we’re longing for. “Astute” is a word I’d use to describe the message here and the slowed southern beat, drum loops, and synth is a musical ode to the scintillating disco ball hanging in most night clubs. The same could be said of “Night Lights,” which features Maria Z offering her vocals in the background. Both of these tracks would hold their own in a club alongside tracks from Kanye and Diddy the King (or whatever the heck he’s calling himself right now while his interns run the city looking for Cambodian breast milk and a midget holding balloons…yes….that is a Chappelle’s Show reference).

“Take a Picture” promises to be this album’s second single. This track is just “whoa” from beginning to end. Not the strongest number lyrically on the album and exploding with a bit too much bravado for my taste, it definitely will have you grabbing from your digital camera or iPhone to snap a picture of you and your friends as long as the track is on. And Jesus is given glory in this one, but he seems a little secondary on this one. Feel free to disagree. The track still bangs…and it’s okay to have fun, be Christian, be a Christian rapper, and not mention Jesus every other word.

“Miami State of Mind” is a tad ominous in the opening seconds of the track before a chopped and screwed voice pops on the track. From here, G-Notes steps to the mic and offers his story to anyone who will listen to his tale of growing up in the hoods of Miami, his mind broken and far off from God. Of course, as the story goes, Notes meets Jesus, switches up the whole game, and now Notes is pouring his heart out to a broken city.

“Magic City” is great, if only for the reason that it features Petidee. I’m really beginning to think that Pettidee might be better as a guest artist than he does as a solo artist. I can only take so much of his style, but when he pops on someone else’s track, it makes you sit up and take notice. The beat here is pretty simplistic, as are the lyrics.

“Whatcha Say About” closes out the album and G-Note takes a few moments to share his heart and implores the listener to turn their life from sin and turn their life toward Jesus.

There’s a lot of good stuff here. Some of the tracks can sound like others, but you never get the sense that G-Notes doesn’t know what he’s doing. The man is smart, sensible, has a story to tell, and a challenge to give to people who have purchased a download of the album. Jesus is front and center for a majority of Bright Lights Magic City. Again, the beats rival anything in the mainstream market and the lyrics contain substances…which is more than I can say for all those people rapping about popping champagne bottles, cars, bling, getting women, and (insert your own morally depraved activity here). Great album. Cop it.


Release Date: April 14 2009

Record Label: Underground Blaze Records

Track listing
1. Bright Lights (Intro)
2. Stunna Shades
3. American Dream (Feat. K-Nuff)
4. Night Lights (Feat. Maria Z)
5. My Girl (Feat. Joe Justiz & Messsianico)
6. Take A Picture
7. Miami State Of Mind
8. On Me (Feat. Probly Pablo & Mike Hiciano)
9. Magic City (Feat. Pettidee)
10. Hey!
11. Heartfelt Music
12. Eyes Of A G (Feat. Joe Justiz)
13. Dying Star (Feat. Eddie Nigma & Ruslan)
14. What’cha Say About




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