KJ-52 is, quite possibly, Christian hip-hop’s most polarizing figure. Some may not like his music or the way he presents it, but if you’re a Christian, it’s hard to argue with his heart for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. His new album’s title, Dangerous, makes it obvious that he’s willing to take risks for that purpose.

As is fairly common on a KJ-52 album, Dangerous is a mixture of styles and techniques. Every song on the album, whether it be rap/rock (“Face Melt”), electropop (“It’s Goin’ Down”), a more traditional hip-hop sound (“Do the Bill Cosby”) or even an adult contemporary sound (“Dangerous”), every song is shot through with the KJ-52 sensibility that’s been there since 7th Avenue and Collaborations. His quirky and self-deprecating sense of humor combines with his particular style of evangelism is the basis of a familiar recipe that will please long-time fans.

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It has been two years since Swoope’s last full-length album, ‘The Zoo’ - an album that brought the artist almost instant recognition in the Christian Hip Hop community. Swoope releases his sophomore album ‘Wake Up’ on Collision Records, boasting a certain clarity of thought that, while present on ‘The Zoo’, has been refined like iron ore for this release.

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In 1971, the Funkadelics released Maggot Brain, an album as unity-preaching as it was genre-bending. The record begins with legendary guitarist Eddie Hazel’s empathetic guitar solo over a minimal acoustic scale, setting the remainder of the album into a tailspin of confused life stories.

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D-Maub is everyone's favorite feature. He has truly been gifted with the ability to body every work that he steps up to. As far as I can recall, there hasn’t been a feature spot I’ve heard that I haven’t enjoyed from this Cincinnati native. When D gets on a track he is guaranteed to overwhelm listeners with his lyrical prowess. For the sake of “total beat dismantlement” one could refer to him as the Busta Rhymes of Christian Hip-Hop, but he’s truly in a league of his own.

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Careful. While music is, by definition ‘an expression of emotion’, we must not be so ignorant as to give such creative leeway to a Christian artist. And God forbid giving it to an entire GROUP of such musicians.

Enter stage left Sho Baraka, Swoope, Suzy Rock, J.R, collectively known as High Society. Their first album, Circa MMXI: The Collective’is as expansive as World Music or a Phil Collins record. In a genre that has pigeon-holed itself as extremely methodical and predictable, High Society has managed to build an album that can easily be listened to from beginning to end. In fact, it would be an injustice to oneself to skip even a single track on this album. Add a comment
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Twenty-plus years ago, MC Ren and Dr. Dre posited that writing a successful hip hop song was a pretty simple formula: “You’re either talkin’ ‘bout the place to be, who you are, what you got, or about a sucker MC.” I’ve always been irritated by such a simplistic take on one of my favorite art forms. Hip hop is an extremely effective story telling medium, and I was reminded of this as I started digging into Theory Hazit’s latest release, Thr3e. Add a comment
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