As I’m sitting here reviewing this album and going over Beacon Light’s latest submission, I’m realizing his acumen with which he’s conducting his business. I met him two years ago at the Urban Youth Workers National Conference, and we talked about the ins and outs of the music business. Well, since that time he’s been on his game for sure. He’s been an independent artist grinding hard in his own hometown and home church. Then over the last couple of years he’s also reaching out nationally, with a smart use of his money, reinvesting hard in great production, innovative music videos, and smart promotion. His new release “Lit” comes out today, following the release of his lead single “Haters” and the accompanying video.
The “Lit” project is not a full album and not an EP, coming in at eight songs. But, do albums really matter anymore? Even Gawvi is releasing a project in several bite sized chunks. What matters most is the evolution of the artist and the milestone marker that each set of tracks represents. And for Beacon Light, this represents a light year leap forward, not that he lacked the chops before. He had them, but now they are more evident than ever. Beacon Light raps all different flow styles across the eight songs like an Olympic champion.
The production is excellent with several of the tracking going where no hip hop artist has gone before. Haters is the jam, sounding totally in a league of its own. Oh Lord is also a standout production-wise. Then there is the stripped down Falling, which still has great production even thought it’s just a Rhodes, bass, and a synth. Neophytes take notes. There are plenty of 808 hi hats to please the core hip hop fan, with Game Time, Quite Like Me, and Lit. Dre Murray also has a solid guest appearance on Game Time.
Lyrically, the album earns a 10 on our lyrical review score scale because it’s a true Christian hip hop album that doesn’t shy away from an honest presentation of what the genre represents. The only exception is Haters, but it gets a pass because the production is bananas. Lyrically, Be That Way is a standout because it’s a heartfelt letter to a friend who’s having a difficult time and needs God. This also contributes to high marks for Originality. Which hip hop artist has done a song like this? None. Oh Lord is also a deep track, not only sounding like something that Reach Records would produce, but it’s a straight up presentation of the Gospel. The Drop is an encouragement to keep forging ahead in the faith despite adversity, no matter how it comes. Falling is also a surprising track as Beacon Light honestly lays out his personal creed and commitment to God. Game Time reminds us that time is short and, as Christians, we shouldn’t be messing around. The thoughtfulness of lyrics, across the board, are refreshing and standard-setting.
In terms of overall feel, Beacon Light brings a solid hip hop sound with some touches of Manafest and NF. The only beef I have with the album is that since several of the tracks are so trendsetting, I got disappointed when I heard the “normal” medium tempo hip hop feel on The Drop, Game Time, and Quite Like Me. These tracks are competent, but the rest of the album sets such a high bar that if the entire album was that way, it would be a genre-setting standout. Even so, CHH take notice.