Its halfway through the year and Ive yet to really be wowed by any album thus far. As I get this package in the mail, Im hoping that it offers the ointment for what ails my achy ears. I intentionally ignored all of the promotional leaks that appeared on the Internet so that I could experience this with virgin ears and without any bias. I rip off the plastic wrapping with a semblance of hope, given that this is an artist that Ive come to enjoy over the years and is signed to a label that I respect to the utmost. So I put the disc into the player giving it a spin and once through, and subsequently allowing myself to digest its content over the following weeks. Oh yeah, what album am I talking about? Im talking about Tedashiis sophomore release titled Identity Crisis.
Lets jump right into this. Tedashii comes to bat and offers up your typical Reach Records type of release. Identity Crisis is an album that consists of biblically saturated rhymes over a myriad of beats ranging from the down south bass bangers to the more rhythmic & soulful. The concept behind the album is that the human race is in the midst of any identity crisis because they no longer reflect the image and purpose that God had originally designed them for. With that as the focus, Tedashii walks you through the varying levels of identification that people have, which lends itself to a gospel presentation describing the Fall and leading to adoption into Gods family and being a member of the Church body. In between all of that is an album full of songs aimed at equipping the listener with the tools they need to resolve their identity crisis.
Sonically, this is one of the cleanest sounding albums that Ive heard this year. Reach Records always tends to do a good job at having a rich sounding project that makes your ears melt. Identity Crisis starts off really strong with the Identity Crisis Intro, Work, and 26s, as each of them is a track worthy of being the next summertime song that gets played with the top down while cruising down the block. There are a few more tracks in this mold like the notable Make War featuring FLAME. For the most part though, the bulk of this album is on the softer and more soulful side with songs like Hollywood and the three Identity songs. Just like the song Fresh suggests, the music is just that, as it features production from greats such as Tony Stone, DJ Official, G-Styles, and k-Drama. The content and music progress alongside the progression of the theme throughout the album.
In listening to Identity Crisis I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, this is a really solid album both sonically and content wise, along with significant appeal; but, I cant help but to think that there is something missing. The album isnt grabbing me like I want it to. Its not that it isnt meeting my expectations, because Ive learned from my many years of reviewing to not have any; so, it has to be something else. As I thought about it more, I finally figured out what I found lacking: the content itself.
Dont get me wrong, the content is solid and thought provoking, as Ive already stated, but having heard this labels entire discography (including similar artists from other labels) I cant help but to think that there are a lot of recycled themes and concepts on Identity Crisis. For example, 26s sounds like a rehash of Houston We Have a Problem from his debut album, and is similar to so many other songs that Reach & similar labels have put out over the years. Likewise, Make War is a nice track, but how many artists do I need to hear rap about battling sin and the flesh? Maybe my ears are just over exposed to this genre of music, but I have to think that theres a lot more subject matter than can be talked about than whats already been done. That being said, its not my intention to knock against the label or its artists. I completely understand their intent in doing what they do and support it wholeheartedly, but when the majority of your consumers are already Christian, many of these themes can quickly become repetitive.
All in all, Identity Crisis set out with an objective to educate the listener on their eternal estate and how they can be reconciled with God, and it does just that. Packed with heartfelt lyrics that point you to the cross and banging beats, Tedashii gives an album that any fan would want to have in their collection and would feel comfortable giving to a friend who doesnt know Christ as Savior. Thats really what its all about for Reach Records at the end of the day, seeing souls saved and having them grow; so, Id say its mission accomplished, even with my criticism.
Label: Reach Records
Release Date: May 26 2009
1. Identity Crisis Intro
3. 26s Introduction
4. 26s (Feat. Lecrae)
5. Hollywood (Feat. Rozie Turner)
6. Identity 1: We Fell
7. Make War (Feat. Flame)
8. Gotta Believe (Feat. Diamone)
9. Identity 2: Adoption (Feat. Rick Trotter)
10. Im A Believer (Feat. Trip Lee & Soyé)
12. Thank You
13. All I Need (Feat. Chris Davis)
14. Identity 3: The Church
15. Community (Feat. Stephen the Levite & Sho Baraka)