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DJ Morphiziz - International

As a general rule, I am not a fan of mixtapes. There's a bit too much talking between tracks, name dropping, and/or self-glorification. Add to that the fact that mixtape "exclusives" are rarely as exclusive as they claim to be and usually translates to being of such poor quality the artist didn't want it associated with any of their full length work. However, DJ Morph's "INTERNATIONAL" may very well change my opinion.

At 19 tracks, "INTERNATIONAL" is a full listen that boasts a plethora of lyrical styles—east coast, west coast, dirty south, Midwest. In the hands of a lesser DJ, these styles might beef with each other as they tend to do in the real world, but Morph does a good job crafting a cohesive whole that never feels disjointed. You might consider "INTERNATIONAL" to be Morph's personal Mona Lisa. It is, quite possibly, the best Christian mixtape ever put together.

Let me focus on what I feel are the best tracks on the project.

Reach Records' Sho Baraka nearly brings down the house on the album's first track "Glorious." In classic Reach fashion, Sho drops a dose of lyrical theology that feels like a full Bible course on the nature of God. He spits, "I rap for those who's dyin'/And your royal heiness/The universe's architect cause he designed it/He rocks the glory robe/And the stars his flyness/He watches over his kids/But his watch is timeless…" He kept rewinding that hook to hear it over and over. From the beginning to the end of the east coast banger, Sho explains the gloriousness of God…and only touches the tip of the iceberg.

New kids on the block Frontlynaz deliver the hot club-style anthem, "Can't Break Us." A track this good makes you wonder why they didn't include it on their full-length album. This sounds like it could have easily been produced by the likes of Dre or Diddy. "Can't Break Us" is the kind of number that I like to play for people and say, "By the way, these guys are Christians." And when they stop and take in the lyrics, there's no denying it. Frontlynaz's integrity to the music and the message has never been more evident than on this track.

Big Nate, K-Drama, and Khul Rhema join forces to deliver the down and dirty, krunktastic "Loose Wit It." Their personal styles work well together. The beat sounds like it'd be just as comfortable on a Young Jeezy or Lil' Wayne album as it does on "INTERNATIONAL." Another testament to the fact that Christian hip-hop is just as good, if not better than its secular counterpart.

Eddie Nigma (aka E. Nigma—cool huh?) drops the bomb with "King Kong." Like the aforementioned gorilla, this song boasts a big sound, horns galore and a tight boom-bap.

"Fire" starts out sounding like it was produced by Eminem or Dre, only to leave their production styles in the dust. "Fire" is hot. G-Notes, Joe Justiz, Docious, and Naysia take turns on the mic, each bringing their special brand of heat.

Title track "International" is delivered fast and funky by G-Notes, Applejaxx, Sharp Skills, and K-Nuff. Carrying the theme of being called to the ends of the earth to bring the gospel to those who need to hear about Jesus, the sound actually has a bit of an international flair to it. DJ Morph has done a good job of mixing and matching things to communicate the message of the song (and the album) on a number of levels. The song has an international sound and by going to the ends of the earth as missionaries of the Cross of Christ, we are, in fact, international.

"INTERNATIONAL" is amazing on so many fronts. And please do not think that by featuring a few tracks out of many I am tacitly communicating that the others aren't worth a listen. They are just as good. I just wanted to give a sampling of what you have to look forward to in DJ Morph's fifth studio project. Do not sleep on this. Everything about this album is tight and it is a "must have."

Label: Stagestalker Entertainment / Underground Blaze Records

Release Date: September 17 2008

Track Listing
1. Intro - feat. Eddie Nigma
2. Glorious - feat. Sho Baraka
3. Plan Our Work - feat. The Breax
4. What They Need - feat. Japhia Life, Eddie Nigma, 2Five the Hood Rev
5. Can't Break Us - feat. Frontlynaz
6. When the Night Falls - feat. Break Bread
7. So Worthy - feat. Psalmizt, R-Swift
8. Loose Wit It - feat. Big Nate, K-Drama, Khul Rhema
9. Let the Record Drop - feat. Rhema Soul, G-Styles
10. King Kong - feat. Eddie Nigma
11. Where You From pt. 2 - feat. Braille, Mahogany Jones, K-Drama, Jovan Mackenzy, Oppose
12. Feelin That - feat. Exilian, Applejaxx, Sharp Skills
13. Who's Gangsta - feat. Big Nate
14. Fire - feat. G-Notes, Joe Justiz, Docious, Naysia
15. International - feat. G-Notes, Applejaxx, Sharp Skills, K-Nuff
16. Til' Death - feat. Young Joshua, Phien-X-Zekaryah
17. Tyna Breathe - feat. Eric Cross, Mahogany Jones, Eddie Nigma, Mozel
18. Let Go - feat. Break Bread
19. Where Can I Go - feat. Tony P

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