Following his decision in 2010 to surrender his life to Jesus Christ, Craig James (a.k.a. “5ive”) has become a completely changed man. Formerly addicted to cocaine, marijuana, and crystal meth, 5ive abandoned his sinful habits and began preaching the Gospel and helping in outreach ministries. He began rapping, using the stage name “5ive,” the biblical number for grace. 5ive released his debut album Amazin’ not long after his conversion, and he has released his sophomore project titled Ignition. On this new album, it is 5ive’s desire that the Lord shine through him. In the process, 5ive raps powerful rhymes combined with dope beats.
5ive opens Ignition with the head-bobbing intro, “The Spark,” that sets the tone and theme for the album. He states his desire to follow Romans 12:1 and to ignite the world by being “that spark that sets the world on fire.” The second track, “Set the World on Fire,” follows in this same theme. 5ive and guest rapper Mikey Blaze express their desire to set fire to the world, quoting Luke 12:49 when Jesus said that He had come to bring fire on the earth. In “Thy Will,” 5ive raps about his trust in the Lord and his desire to let God’s will be done. “Lord, you know just what I need / So let Your will be done.”
5ive, along with Kre8tor and Buck Barnabas, boldly states in “Martyr” that, because of his Christian faith, he is not afraid of death. They spit powerful lyrics about how they would be willing to die a martyr, “because if they martyr me, please believe Imma live in the sky.” “So Lost” details 5ive’s life before, and when he became a Christian. As A-Ron sings in the hook, “I was so lost until you found me / I was so bound, but Lord you set me free.” The first single off the album, “Ignite (Light of the World),” features rapper Je’kob. 5ive and Je’kob rap about the importance of living as representatives of Jesus, refusing to leave Christ’s name out of their songs, and asking God to ignite the light in them. While it is a slower song, this is one of the most meaningful tracks on the album.
In “Serve Em,” 5ive reminds us that we are servants of Christ, as stated in 1 Corinthians 4:1, and need to bring Christ to everyone. “Your Hand” talks about how God can change the life of anyone, no matter how much evil is in us. “All these mistakes got me feeling like I’m helpless / But my Lord is Savior / He said I’m greater / He said I’m worth it / He said I’ll save ya.” 5ive then raps about how unashamed he is about being a follower of Christ in the catchy “Reach for the Sky.”
5ive speaks about his goal as a rapper in the upbeat “Keeper of the Flame,” stating that “my exhortation is meant to bring you to salvation / My expectation is to ignite this generation.” He then raps with R-Swift and Calvin Jr. in “Free Indeed” about the freedom from sin that he God has granted him. They paint an interesting picture of God cleansing us from our sins, saying, “He’s killing my sins one at a time / He’s tossing that thing over a bridge.” The album closes with the slow song “Addicted,” in which 5ive proclaims his addiction to God’s love.
Ignition may be 5ive’s second album, but he raps like a veteran. Not only are his lyrics deep and not at all watered down, but the music side of each track is excellent as well. 5ive chooses to focus on a serious topic that many will relate to, while choosing beats that everyone will enjoy. I really liked the fact that he and the guest artists frequently cited passages from scripture that influence and support what they are saying. Ignition should certainly serve as a breakout album for 5ive and will certainly gain the rapper more attention and fans. As I add songs from this album to my Hip-Hop playlists, I look forward to the future releases from this skilled artist.
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