Review – Trip Lee ‘The Good Life’
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Trip Lee and Reach Records deliver his most anticipated album: The Good Life. In early 2011 Trip relocated to Washington, DC. During that stretch of musical silence, Trip Lee was participating in a pastoral internship. Upon hearing the news, I wondered how his new album would sound. With his previous offering, Between Two Worlds, Trip diversified his production and content. The Good Life takes us further in the life of Trip Lee.
During the Rehab tour, I first heard the Dirty Rice produced single, Robot. The song didn’t grab me initially and until I heard Trip say, “why you always trying to control me? You are not my boss that’s the old me.” The robot promotional videos created more anticipation and adding more depth to the song.
Following the albums announcement, Trip Lee released the introspective Dirty Rice produced, Fallin’ featuring J. Paul. The title caught my attention instantly. The production has a cinematic intro, strings that detail each moment and drums that smoothly capture the emotion. In storyteller form Trip starts by saying,
“I don’t really want it but it’s calling my name/William you come and get me I can take away the pain/Come a little closer you got everything to gain.”
The honesty in the lyrics is what connected with me. As we watch the maturation of Trip Lee, we see that he is more open to speak on his real life issues. Over a repetitive kick drum, rhythmic guitar play and horns the Alex Medina and D-Flow produced iLove continues with the autobiographical presentation. Trip starts with “my girlfriends name starts with an “I” shines bright like starts in the sky” sharing more of his personal battles. The production reminds me of the Kayne and Jay-Z song, No Church in the Wild but the lyrics are obviously different.
War produced by Alex Media and Swoope is a great song. When the hook drops with “When life and death go to battle, aint no telling what will happen” I’m instantly hooked. Lyrically addressing the idea of battling sin. Trip adds, “It really might seem that the war is still going, people still dying sin is still potent.“ Instead of using the typical sermon format, Trip speaks as a voice to a generation.
Trip Lee reconnects with producer G-Styles on New Dreams. Trip explains what The Good Life is all about with clever rhymes from Sho Baraka and an infectious hook from J.R. Heart Problem pushes a hot button topic – money. In the past Reach Records artists were outspoken concerning money. I enjoyed the voice of the person in the song playing the roll of the critic. Trip counters by adding, “They think I got a problem, with dollars, and makin’ green cash/But money really aint the problem, every grand is a grant from the father.” Instead of making blanket statements, Trip offers a wise approach concerning money. Money alone isn’t a problem but when money is above God then you will find the heart’s problem.
Trip Lee with Joseph Prielozny and Dirty Rice produce great music together. Take Me There with Jimmy Needham is a great story. Fantasy featuring Suzy Rock is one my favorite songs on the album. Over futuristic drums and smooth chord progression Trip speaks of what reality in Christ looks like. Beautiful Life featuring. V Rose tackles abortion from a biblical perspective. Trip over rising choir harmonies with switch beat drums speaks to individuals from a pro-life perspective of abortion. Generally mainstream Christian rappers never speak openly about political topics. This song is an example of progression.
Even though I love this project there are several songs that could have been left off. I’m Good featuring Lecrae didn’t grab me as much as I expected. Would have liked to see the two collaborate with the energy similar to “Go Hard.” One Sixteen featuring KB and Andy Mineo is a fan favorite but to me this song could have been left off the project. I love the 116 branding of the song but the theme has been discussed on every Reach project and the song didn’t top previous 116 anthems. Love on Display featuring Andy Mineo, the pop influenced For My Good feat. Jai and the melodic Good Thing featuring Leah Smith are great songs but they lose steam at the end of the album. Adding a couple of high energy songs would balance out the low tempo vibe of the album. If these 5 songs were on a sampler prior to the album they would work. I would have liked to hear at least 2 energy driven songs similar to what Trip delivered on 20/20.
The Good Life is Trip Lee’s best album to date. Reach Records incredible marketing strategies built great anticipation of this album. Trip Lee addressing diverse topics in conjunction with mainstream production is a recipe for a great album. I’m looking forward to the book release of The Good Life.
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Label: Reach Records
1. New Dreams (feat J.R. & Sho Baraka)
2. Robot – produced by Dirty Rice
3. I’m Good (feat. Lecrae) – produced by CJ Luzi
4. War – produced by Alex Medina, co-produced by Swoope
5. Fallin’ (feat. J. Paul)
6. iLove – produced by Alex Medina, co-produced by D-Flow
7. Know Me
8. One Sixteen (feat. Andy Mineo & KB) – produced by Mark Mims, Andre Atkinson, & Sharif Chauncey, additional production by Alex Medina
9. Heart Problem – produced by G-Styles
10. Take Me There (feat. Jimmy Needham)
11. Beautiful Life (feat. V. Rose)
12. Fantasy (feat. Suzy Rock)
13. Love On Display (feat. Andy Mineo) – co-produced by Joseph Prielozny and Alex Medina
14. For My Good (feat. Jai)
15. Good Thing (feat. Leah Smith)