From South Florida comes a six man group by the name Authentik with their debut album named “Groans Before Glory”. The concept is meant to illustrate the struggles of believers between now and eternity with God free from sin.
As we begin the album with the intro, the production is fitting with the dramatic background chords and heavy string sounds as they all describe our fall into sin, the birth of a believer, and the realities the believer faces in the midst of it all. This is a very common topic in this genre, and while I didn’t hear anything unique (the Gospel never changes of course, but you know), the intro makes its point.
As we continue into the next track “Hope”, they waste no time speaking of the hope of man, Jesus Christ, and accordingly the beat has a victorious feel to it, with its bouncy synths and drums. The track really drew me in and I felt it was a good move making this the next track. The voice effects on the sung chorus fit well also. In this song and throughout the album, you will hear a straightforward presentation of the Gospel and different doctrinal explanations of the Christian life and its relation to Christ in the lyrics. While they’re true, it comes off less artistic than I would like. The feeling I get when listening to many of the tracks is that they studied doctrine (which IS good) and then rapped them back on the tracks, and while some wouldn’t have a problem, for me it doesn’t take strong artistry to do this…it takes a little bit, but not something that would distinguish themselves in the genre. To have the right combination of lyrical artistry and strong rap delivery with content is a mix that is definitely hard to come by, there’s always room for growth.
As we move onto the title track, it has a little bit of that South Florida feel, but also with a bit of a house feel as well. When you move on later into the album, there’s actually a house remix of this track, so I guess they really liked that feel haha! The chorus I felt could’ve been tracked out a bit better, for near the end of the second half of the feature artist Jordan singing came on it was a bit off beat, almost as if it was re-recorded and plugged in late. One other thing that I would have changed up in the chorus is in saying “My husband’s gone today, but He’ll be back to take me home”. I understand the truth that Christ is the Husband of His bride the Church, so with that said, I feel it would be received better if it was changed to communicate the whole Church instead of saying “My husband”. Many who hear the track, especially the unbeliever would be caught off guard when hearing it, for it happened to me for a split second. Aside from those minor things, Authentik brings a pretty solid track.
For a debut album, Authentik features some well-known artists from Sho Baraka, to Benjah and JSon, which I felt was really cool of those artists to do. On “Persevere”, Benjah is featured, as they seek to communicate that true Christians will persevere and not totally fall away. This track highlights the contentious views of brothers and sisters in Christ over whether a believer can fall away, and while I won’t focus too much on that, I will say Authentik communicates the common Calvinist understanding of it. For Sho Baraka, he featured on the song “In Da Club”, no CaJo haha! The track is basically describing the common theme of seeking fulfillment in clubbing, which we all know won’t be found there. Sho comes with an ok verse to me, it delivers the concept, and one of the guys from Authentik is singing describing how it goes down in the club. The track focused exclusively on the female side of things, yet I would have like it to highlight the male side as well; for there are men seeking fulfillment there too, which is why the girl described by a member of Authentik believes his lies. The other featured track with JSon is named “Blowing Money”, which sounds like a Rick Ross BMF knock-off to me with the rapping style at times. The track itself felt pretty generic to me, speaking of the fast life in a way similar to a lot of other tracks I’ve heard.
Again, topics are rehashed in music many times in any genre, so by me saying this is not me saying they’re the only ones, but because I feel the artistry is lacking it shows even more on the album. A track that was pretty cool however was “Chase That” which featured Paul Morris, and while it speaks on money like the previous track described, it tells a vivid story and I feel it’s an insight into where things can go in the feature. The track describes the relationship of a son with his father and the son despising the father’s wisdom to him because of the love of money, which in the end kills his father, yet brings the son to his knees in repentance. The twist at the end came through pretty well. Another track that I liked was “I’m Alive”, a declaration track with the beat to match! In this track I also saw the height of delivery strength for Authentik, and I wished that I saw more of it in other tracks. If any track will work well in a concert, it’s this one. The artist on the third verse was the highlight of the track for me, with the best delivery of the whole album on that verse.
Authentik’s debut album felt like a rocky start for me, yet I appreciated the support of the featured artists like Sho Baraka, Benjah, and JSon to a relatively unknown group. I feel with a support group as diverse as those three people, with obviously a lot more that growth is inevitable. Even with other features from Oscar Urbina, Paul Morris, Jasmine Le’Shea, and Jordan Brown; the album didn’t feel crowded with features,which is a good feat considering that there are six men in the group! Some of the beat choices were hit and miss for me, and I felt there could’ve been more lyrical artistry present, as much as there was straightforward doctrinal presentation. The reality of the groaning that believers face in this fallen world is a constant one, yet as the group’s name says, being authentic is the way to go and being patient in the midst of it as we look to the Author and Finisher of our faith…we will make it to glory.
Categorical Ratings Breakdown:
Beat Selection/Production: 3/5