Christian hip-hop has been invaded. British import New Direction Crew has brought their brand of Christian hip-hop across the pond to share with their American cousins. And let me tell you we should all be glad they made the trip. One part Black Eyed Peas, one part Grits, one part Cross Movement, NDC's "In The Saviour's Shadow" is a fresh approach to an old genre.
Actually, a great deal of this album has an old school meets new school vibe without ever feeling cheesy or dated. "Declare Victory" is one of my favorite songs on the album. Jazzy and breezy, this one boasts a nice horn section (albeit synthesized) and Elizabeth's singing over the chorus. "You Are God" features guest emcee Jack Ellis and is a strong piano driven rap meets R&B number. "Life 4 Da King" is the best track on the album and it simply bangs hard.
Here these new artists really display their prowess as they rap, "No doubt, I'm a live for da king/it's more than a chain, it's a lifestyle." I love that line. It says it all, speaking to the proclivity for urban youth to rock icy chains and crosses without any inclination as to the blood that spilled there to redeem their soul. "To Live is Christ" follows and features a serious rap rock vibe, ala Linkin Park meets Jay-Z.
A downside to the overall effort is that a lot of the slower songs sound the same. Sometimes it was difficult to differentiate between which track was which. I also expected to hear more bangers, but NDC seems to have embraced more of an R&B vibe to accommodate Elizabeth's talents.
While this might seem a bit trite, I think I like this album a lot more than I normally would simply because of the British accents. It's new. This is the first group effort. It might be a bit novel. Be that as it may, its still really good stuff. These guys clearly know what they're doing. You should pick it up and give it a listen.
Released: Indie (in the UK)
1. Tell Em' Where I'm At (In The Saviour's Shadow)
2. The Will Be Done
3. Walk In The Son
4. Declare Victory
7. You Are God ft. Jack Ellis
8. Young Girl
9. God Man ft. G-Kid
12. To Live Is Christ
13. Celebrate ft. Mark Asari
14. He Needs You
16. Thank You ft. Jahaziel & Verb [Swish]