R. Swift has something to say and the way he says it is a step above his debut album. “The Soapbox” is the newest studio offering from the Cross Movement Records artist and he has taken things to the next level personal. For those looking for a carbon copy of artists like Da T.R.U.T.H., Flame, and Ambassador won’t find that here. If those guys are the good kids, then R. Swift is the misunderstood child of the family. He seems to have embraced that position as his rap stylings—from flows to beat arrangements—are totally unique to the Cross Movement sound. For some that will be a testament to Cross Movement’s diverse repertoire. For others, it’ll act as somewhat of a deterrent.
After a brief intro, “In Session” starts out the album with lots of old skool scratching and deep bass. Swift let’s listeners know through the track that they are about to be introduced to and instructed in the way of Jesus and the style of R. Swift. “Good Mourning” is the first radio single off the album and boasts a feel-good 70’s vibe that is both relaxing and engaging. The chorus line is reminiscent of groups like Fred Hammond and RFC or Kirk Franklin and the Fam. “Freedom” shows a great deal of Swift’s unique approach to the genre as he includes rolling guitars and crisp horns to back up his rhyme scheme. “Breatha” is a uncompromising look at the life of the thug, calling them to a different life in Christ saying, You can’t smoke away your whole life, drink away your whole life, sex away your whole life either/Choose truth or die/You decide/The world is suffocating you with lies/This is the breatha!/You can’t hustle away your whole life/Thug away your whole life either/ Choose truth or die/You decide/The world is suffocating you with lies/This is the breatha! “American Soil” is a socio-political indictment against the hypocrisy of people who connect God to all things American, yet don’t live how He demands. Invited along for the trip are several artists and emcees who give the record a decidedly underground and/or jazzy vibe, such as Mac the Doulos, Iz-Real, R&B crooner J.R., and “The League” is a cypha featuring a veritable who’s who of underground Christian rappers. The album also features phone messages that act as interludes from K-Drama, Flame, and Teddy P.
At 14 tracks, though, the album isn’t all that long. The tracks may be a little too short for some fans.
Vacillating between jazzy, breezy, and cool and hard-hitting, gritty, and streetwise, “Soapbox” is a good effort by R. Swift. Unless you’re already predisposed toward his style, it’ll take a couple of listens to acclimate yourself to his approach. He appropriately includes guests where needed and stands on his own where he needs to. The instrumentation and arrangements are solid and present a different approach for a Cross Movement record, but the inclusion or guitars and horns seem to be a growing trend within the genre.
Release Date: June 10 2008
Record Label: Cross Movement Records
- Stage Fright
- In Session
- Good Mourning
- Message 1 (K-Drama)
- The League
- Message 2 (FLAME)
- Re: Love Letter
- Me On My Soapbox
- Message 3 (Teddy P)