The Hostile Takeover

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Ever since Kirk Franklin brought gospel into the hip-hop era, there have been numerous attempted imitations which try earnestly but don't measure up. This collection gathers rap/hip-hop artists with messages that could reach young rap fans, but in contexts that are mostly either not compelling or way overproduced. DJ Charlie Willis' "The Nureaupean Anthem" is a ridiculous recitation which approximates Max Headroom-type computer voices, annoying production techniques, and features a recording from a moon landing. T. Boy and 5.0 are behind "Front 2 Back," which features a conventional rap over various studio tricks. Ditto Gibaan's "Firewater" offers God's redemption like gangsta rappers. Tonex's "Figure" would make an interesting vocal track if it weren't filtered through a wind tunnel. When Shelley Gaines' "Next 2 U" arrives, it's a welcome and more soulful breath of fresh air, but it still could be produced a little simpler. E.B Williams' "The High Place" is an interesting computer-generated reggae piece which is tolerable. The true saving grace of the disc is the final track, a bouncy traditional gospel choir jam which draws on Cheryl Lynn's "Got to Be Real" for a little disco flair. This project may help get the gospel further to the hip-hop generation, but that generation would be better off just waiting for Franklin's latest endeavor.

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