Listening to R.O.M. 7 (Reason of Ministry) reveals a few things about the MC – Giano.

He’s talented. He’s deep. He’s Christian.

I just can’t tell if he’s any fun.

R.O.M. 7 is heavy and cerebral. His style of beat making and lyric spitting is not radio rap or hip-pop. In fact, it’s not even really backpacker, underground grime.

But it’s definitely art; deeply researched and emotionally driven religious discourses on all things Jesus. With Tru-Life/Ambassador-type vocals, Giano’s talks about Spirit vs. Flesh, the God-man, and keeping the Sabbath holy. He also delves into sexual purity and the Second Coming.

The delivery is a bit of a spoken word drone. Each line is clearly enunciated with just a tick of inflection for emphasis on the ending tones.

I can fully visualize Giano at a local poetry slam, ink filled lyric notebook in hand, approaching the open mic with intellectual intensity. He doesn’t dance or bob as he recites his words. And his eyes are closed the majority of the time, only letting in the smallest amount of light when he wants to reference his faint blue lines to ensure he’s hitting all the marks.

The sonic background of R.O.M. 7 is something the artist/producer calls “night time music.” Jazzy and light, it eschews thumping bass lines for a dreamier feel. Often, it is reminiscent of home-spa relaxation CDs. You don’t get the crickets and bubbling brooks here, but it’s very New Age. (Author’s note: This a description of the music only. As previously stated, Giano’s lyrics are explicitly Christian – almost to a fault.)

Everything mentioned above is true. And honorable. But it’s not very entertaining.

So I’m left to ponder two things:

1. Where is Giano’s joy?

Surely Jesus the Christ has made his life better, more full. I just can’t really tell He has made that impact by listening to this album.

I feel like I’m getting an academic and logical presentation of the Gospel instead of a personal one. Tell me about the freedom you’ve gained. Show me how you smile. Tell me a story.

I know He loves Giano and Giano loves Him. I just wish I could feel that here.

2. R.O.M. 7 obviously has value, but where?

This isn’t a collection of riding music or club bangers. I probably wouldn’t play it for a non- or new-believer; seems a bit heady for that. “Milk-before-meat” you know.

Would I be interested in seeing Giano do a show? Does he even “perform”? Or is it more of a self-expression, talent love offering to his God? Maybe it’s like an art exhibit or interpretive dance.

Perhaps it’s a Bible-study soundtrack; something to set the mood for Sunday morning preparation or a seminary final exam.

I can even see it being a part of an urban Passion of the Christ type film.

I appreciate it on several levels. I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to do with it. 

Release Date: November 7 2006

Record Label: Indie

1 Closer
2 Bounce
3 Focus (remix)
4 K.I.M. (Keep it Movin')
5 You Must Believe
6 The First
7 Feel Me (remix)
8 Breathe
9 Spirit vs Flesh
10 He's So…
11 One Things
12 Summer is Ended
13 Live for God
14 Roots
15 The Reason
16 Either/Not
17 Encore