Gotee Records continues to churn out their yearly compilation album in the form of "Hip Hope 2009." As with any mixtape, the results are a bit mixed. Some tracks hit you right between the eyes. Others are a bit ho-hum. But, one thing that sets this volume apart from its predecessors is its departure from "Non-Gotee artists need not apply" approach. In the past, this project has been held down by the likes of Out of Eden, Grits, Verbs (formerly Knowdaverbs), DJ Maj, and TobyMac (because he owns the label). However, this year's edition features a veritable "who's who" of Christian underground rap artists and a number of exclusives that are pretty decent.
TobyMac leads off the project and I'm not exactly sure why. "One World (Liquid Remix)" is good. But, I'm not sure why TMac chose to remix this particular song. It doesn't sound all that different from the original that appeared on "Portable Sounds." Even more, this isn't one of the "hot" tracks that are made even sweeter with a little tweaking. Again, not necessarily a bad track, but not the bang the album likely needed to take off from the start.
Washington Projects' "Come Back to Me" is a funky "walk low-walk high" number. I could literally see the music video playing in my head (even though there isn't one). The brother-sister duo have delivered up another Black-Eyed Peas inspired hit.
"Be Myself" is a sultry and thoughtful number by Jade, the newest artists signed to Bonafide and Coffee's Revolution Art label. This R&B has a heavy dose of synth in the background and will likely remind listeners of Out of Eden or Beyonce.
Pettidee brings his down South style on "Gimme Dapp" and his lyrics are as risqué as they're going to come in Christian rap. I'm still not sure how I feel about some of the metaphors he draws. Maybe saying that hip-hop has "crabs and herpes" is an artist's way of saying hip-hop is diseased and/or infected. But, the point he makes in this song about selling out and saying nothing and flooding the airwaves with dangerous thoughts and intents should be taken seriously.
Flynn Adams' "Feel It Now" is whoa. It's so bombastic, you won't be able to help but getting up and dance. This former LA Symphony emcee delivers up a heavy dose of awesomeness that should not be slept. "My" is a reggae-infused track by Proxy with Verbs and Revolution Art artist Stefan the Scientist that is a track that will, if you're listening by iPod, make you walk with a swagger you didn't even know you had. It's good to hear Verbs again, too. He always was a good guest artist (moreso than a solo artist, in my opinion).
Much to my surprise, there isn't much for me to complain about on this project. Back in the day, DJ Maj was the man when it came to Christian mixtapes and compilations, and this is as close as we're going to come to those particular projects from Gotee. Their willingness to branch out beyond Gotee artists has paid off in the form a great effort.
Label: Gotee Records
Release Date: February 3, 2009
1. One World (Liquid Remix)* TobyMac (CD Only)
2. Reminds Me Grits
3. Call Him G.O.D.* - Canton Jones
4. When It Feels Right* - Speech (of Arrested Development)
5. What You Want* - KJ-52 (featuring Bonafide of Grits)
6. Calculator Watch Pigeon John
7. Future Verbs
8. Come Back To Me* Washington Projects
9. Be Myself * Jade (featuring Coffee of Grits)
10. Walking Loud* Braille
11. Gimme Deep* Pettidee
12. Avert* Shonlock (featuring Canton Jones and V3)
13. Bottom of the 9th* B. Reith (featuring Knine)
14. Higher Stefan the Scientist
15. Feel It Now Flynn Adam
16. Cut Me* J Remy
17. My* Proxy (featuring Verbs and Stefan the Scientist)
18. Chimpanzee* Rootbeer (Digital Only)
*Hip Hope Exclusive