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Pastor AD3 is a fairly unknown artist to the CHH scene, yet he has managed to align himself with some high-profile artists in the likes of J'son, Swoope, Thi’sl, and others. I first heard of AD3 on Thi’sl’s album Chronicles of An X-Hustler, and J’son’s highly celebrated City Lights. With an early co-sign from Thi’sl, AD3 comes hard out of the gate on the opening track like a stallion looking to win a race. Front to back, this album feels right for AD3.
Inevitably, with love there must be pain, and AD3 carries both well on this debut offering. From tracks 1-13, AD3 let's it be known that he is taking no prisoners - urban music lovers will get hit with the gospel as it is communicated on their level.
While listening to No Pain No Love you may notice that AD3’s rapper-esq writing style - verses and hooks - parallels that of pop/rap artist T-Pain. Also comparable to T-Pain; upon first listen of this album, when you hear his polished vocals on each of these tracks, you may assume that he auto-tuned them, but unlike many “studio artists” today, AD3 has natural vocal talent.
No Pain No Love isn’t your normal R&P album. I am noticing a shift in the way urban Christian music is approaching R&P. Instead of the smooth rhythm R&B that we are used to in R&P, many artists are going to hip-hop producers for production which is displayed throughout this album.
One minor comment for the complaint box is that the album is too synth-heavy, but that is to be expected from a Kansas City native. AD3 does a wonderful job stacking his vocals, which overall renders a nice full sound. The messages behind songs like “Background Dancer,” “Bag Em,” “What You Drinkin’ On,” and “Feature Presentation” ring true for many who live an authentic life in Christ but have come out of the world. The world often calls the follower of the Way a copycat but as AD3 expresses its an honor to be called and live a life of a copycat of Christ.
AD3 does a good job of playing with concepts. As a screenwriter and movie buff I often thought of story lines to go along with the songs. People who read urban fiction could use this album as a soundtrack to a few books such as ’True To The Game’, ’Flyygirl’, ’Dutch’ and other novels that deal with concepts of urban living to counterattack the message in the books. No Pain No Love puts the attention on God and not on the things of this world. In the track “Deeper,” AD3 states, “I can’t keep living this way, I wanna go deeper, deeper than the bottom of the ocean, low than the lowest on the tot-em”. The lyrics display AD3’s heart for those listening to the album to switch their affections from false love, cars, sex, alcohol, bad relationships, strip clubs and other ungodly means of affection to the One who completes and satisfies them.
Overall, the album is full of emotion and each song gives you a chance to meditate and be reminded of the truth. If you are looking for a R&B style album this might not be for you. Although, AD3 sings I wouldn’t completely classify him as a R&B artist.
With songs like “Deeper,” “Run Away,” “The Good Life,” and “Void,” AD3 exposed his ability to produce more contemplative worship tracks, which he will hopefully continue to produce in his future works. I look forward to hearing more from AD3. The features from D-MAUB, Thi’sl, KamB.I.N.O., Kelly Kelz, and Swoope were great additions to the album. AD3 is a pastor with serious potential and ‘No Pain No Love is what the current generation needs to hear. We know he is here to stay.
Release Date: June 28th 2011
Label: S.H.O.C.K. Music Worldwide
Purchase on iTunes or AmazonMP3
1. No Pain No Love feat. Thi’sl
3. Fly By feat. KamB.I.N.O.
4. Background Dancer
6. The Way You Do It feat. Swoope
7. Void (In My Heart)
8. The Good Life feat. D-MAUB
9. That's My King
10. Run Away feat. Kelly Kelz
11. Feature Presentation
12. What You Drinkin' On? feat. Erica Danea
13. Bag'Em feat. A1-the LP, Dre' Sr. and Sauce Remix