Heralding their debut album with the likes of Houston legends Layzie Bone and Pyrexx, as well as artists Benjah, Clay G, and Tony B, Mixtape Ministries releases Redemption.
Right away, the mixtape portion of the ministry name is apparent to me with the number of tracks being seventeen, which is mixtape level. I was intrigued with the mix-up of artists on the album; I never expected a reggae artist like Benjah to be paired up with a H-town veteran. The album begins with “Inside Your Soul” with Layzie Bone, Clay G, and Tony B. It was an ok intro to me, and I wished Tony didn’t try to sing his bars the way he did; it just didn’t go well. The next track, “Sober,” kind of ‘redeems’ the intro (see what I did there? Lol!) because I liked how the beat came in, and the Denzel speech sampled in was a nice touch. The rhymes are simple, real, and straightforward. There wasn’t much to make me feel wowed by them, but the chorus was definitely catchy. I did expect more from Pyrexx. There were many effects done to repeat his words, and it was more filler than creative. Benjah brought a nice feel and groove to the track, and he fit really well on this track.
The following track was a flip on the well-known track “Five On It,” titled “Life On It.” CHH (or in Lecrae’s case, an artist who is Christian) has had a bit of a love affair with this track as this is the third track that I know of that’s been sampled. From Lecrae’s “Nothin’” to Army’s “Heaven Or Hell” tracks, it’s been flipped/interpolated in creative ways. This particular flip was less dramatic than others were and even less original because it just Christianized the chorus.
Other tracks that stood out to me were “Victory,” “Demons,” “Lose Yourself,” “In God We Trust,” and some others. I really appreciated Benjah’s input to this project because I honestly didn’t see it coming. He added much quality to the tracks he was on, and even the way he recorded his vocal tracks with blended harmonies stood out.
In the beginning of this album, I was pretty underwhelmed, and even by seeing the album cover, I honestly didn’t expect much. But in the later songs, I really started to see more polish and quality on the tracks. For example, “Lose Yourself” had such a great chorus, and the rap flow from Clay G rode the track so effortlessly that I’m glad that I was able to get to that point. The reality is, though, that for some people, they may not be as patient to get to that point, especially with the number of choices.
Since I’ve talked enough about the quality of the tracks, I want to speak on the content itself. The album’s name is redemption, and the content of the tracks in one way or another definitely point to what it is and how it looks. Tracks like “Sober Remix,” “Lose Yourself,” “Redemption,” and “Sands Of Time” are each gritty and raw reflections on living the redemptive life for Christ and encouraging those who aren’t to give their lives to Him. “Lose Yourself” draws me specifically because I personally have my own blog called Thoughts Of Redemption (shameless plug www.ThoughtsOfRedemption.com), and it deals with not living how you used to live and losing your own way of thinking and it being more like the One who redeemed you.
This project was very hefty with 17 tracks, lending itself to the Mixtape Ministries name, so there were some tracks I could’ve done without. But with it having that amount, there were also a good amount that I can say delivered pretty sufficiently. This may not be a project that I would immediately rush to, but it’s something that is honest, raw, and straight to the point. You can see that these artists are seeking their Redeemer, no matter how it looks, and that ministry is very important to them. If there’s anything that matters, it’s doing that, so I’d encourage people to listen with that in mind and remember the value of their redemption in Christ.
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