Originally from VA now serving in ministry in Ohio, Trabelus Whitfield aka Maddlines presents us with his album Ridiculous. Over a soundscape of beats styled to appeal to a broad range of ears Maddlines lays out his heart for Christ in this album in a big way, as in 17 full length songs! The album starts with the track “I am”. A “Church in the Wild”-esque production over which Maddlines with some irony downplays secular hip hop trends and lyrics and why holy spirit inspired lyrics are better. The second track Heaven, is one of my favorites on this project. The production is well orchestrated and the singer David Chance compliments Maddlines rhymes very well, and his message about Heaven seems on point. Gotta Do Better the next track serves as a counterpoint to his criticisms of the secular realm where he points out the shortcomings of the Church on many levels. I like this track a lot, it’s message, beat, and his flow are all excellent in my opinion. Being a boom bap head, I can’t lie songs on this project like Get yo Hands Up, Pop Tarts, Bars Nonstop, with their rapid fire hi hats, snares and 808s lose my interest about half way through. But I kind of dig Noise for the King a similarly styled track. I could go on, there are a few more gems on this LP, and overall, the production is solid. Considering how difficult it is to put together an album I am impressed that a minister and father of four, is able to put forth such an ambitious work.
I do have some criticisms. Maddlines spends a lot of time ‘boasting’ in the spirit so to speak. he uses a lot of metaphors and similes to explain why his Jesus inspired flow trumps sin-filled lyrics. I’m not saying that I have a problem with that, but I’d rather appreciate an artist’s skill on the mic, as the measuring rod, and judge for myself how dope he/she is. Maddlines is a solid emcee, but his metaphors, similes, cadence, are by no means groundbreaking. An emcee doesn’t have to be complex with their rhyme schemes but when you say you are better than other cats I think it ups the ante on what you should deliver. But overall that’s a minor criticism. I appreciate this brother’s heart. I think this album would fit in well with the more church centered youth/young adult ministry oriented, christian hip hop out there. I encourage this brother to keep grinding and pray his ministry brings forth much fruit.
Categorical Ratings Breakdown:
Lyrics/ Delivery: 2.5/5
Beat Selection/production: 2.5/5