Following his breakthrough 2012 release Excellent, respected Los Angeles rapper and poet Propaganda returns with Crimson Cord, an album of depth, strength, and intensity. Although he works under the banner of Christian hip-hop, his religious-backed messages are rarely overt, often letting ideas and concepts unfold through his own personal stories. Ever since his emergence with innovative rap collective the Tunnel Rats in 2002, he's managed to mix a crafty, poetic richness with his implied messages of faith. Since signing with Portland's Humble Beast Records, his collaborations with labelmates like Odd Thomas and Beautiful Eulogy (the latter of whom act as producers here) have been among his best work and the strong, thoughtful, and conscious Crimson Cord continues to up his game. Over a deft mix of electronic and acoustic beats, cool atmospheric synths, and piano he ruminates on his own history and follows threads of social commentary with a delivery that is both elegant and biting. Propaganda's unique personal style makes him the rare crossover artist who can deliver a strong message without alienating secular and non-religious fans. He's not preachy, but instead aims to inspire by simply producing good art.