It has been five years since the release of Reflect’s last musical offering, Silence is Betrayal, and he is now back with a full-length project titled The Translation.
Reflect has been apart of Eshon Burgundy’s imprint the NFTRY for some time now, even though it’s not often that we hear music from him. A lot has happened since the last project in his life, as well as in American society, yet I feel these two projects connect in some ways. Silence is Betrayal highlights the racial struggles and cries for justice in America, in the midst of a deafening silence from the body of Christ and America, which MLK Jr highlighted decades ago.
The Translation speaks to these issues which have only gotten louder since then; from it’s origin, to the context we’re in presently, and then what the application is. This album highlights what we as Christians practice throughout every generation, as we learn where we are in the present, learn where the present day originates from, and how to live out what is true in application.
As I listened to the album, I appreciated the value Reflect puts in being himself. I sense that the production on this album is what he loves to listen to, rather than what he thinks we want to hear. At the same time, because he is involved in the lives of the youth, he naturally comes off as relevant instead of dated. Throughout the album you’ll hear a bunch of sampled beats, which stand out in the midst of this trap beat landscape we’re currently experiencing.
The stand-out track on this album is one that you may have become familiar with, because of the love shown for it from well known sports and media personalities, as well as the featured artists on the track itself.
Titled “I Am King,” Reflect called on Sho Baraka and Eshon Burgundy to deliver bars, and also featured CHH vet Richie Righteous on the chorus. When I saw these powerhouse artists on the tracklist, I was immediately excited! I hoped that Rich would spit a few bars, but he still held it down on the chorus. The track highlighted the identity that Christ has given us in Him, specifically concerning men. We were called to live as kings because we are made in His image.
Other highlight tracks included “Troubled Child,” “Supreme,” “The Origin,” all of which had powerful subject matter addressed. “Troubled Child” was special to me, because it highlighted the mental issues he’s gone through even as he is a leader to others, which is very hard to balance. When others depend on you, it’s tempting for us to ignore what we’re dealing with. Check out some of his lines below where he speaks of this:
My depression sneak up on me with aggression/moments trigger memories and pull me out the present/but uh, wait, that’s only for a second, aint got time to grieve when you got people to lead/My babe like, ‘Watch out ‘fo you internally bleed,’ and I’m like, ‘You right, but we still gotta eat, still got deadlines to meet, still got students to teach, and the college aint salvation so we still gotta preach!”
If you talk to any leader, they’ll tell you of the burdens they go through, and I’m grateful that he brought this to light on the album. This album is honest, confident, authentic, and easy to listen to. I always appreciate the way that he is able to break down things that are complex so that it’s accessible to everyone.
I believe that he succeeded in fulfilling the purpose for this album, because he conveyed the importance of translation in the context of real human experience, because we all need to know what God is saying in the times we live in.