Gideonz Army – On Ten
Reviewed by: Neil Christian
Rating: 6.4 (Out of 10)
What is the difference between Three 6 mafia, 8Ball & MJG and Gideonz Army? All of them have banging 808 drums as the engine. All three have synth driven tracks as the spinners. And in the car the same rapid-fire, aggressive deliveries are present. Is there a difference then? While Three 6 Mafia, 8ball & MJG deliver aggressive rhymes about making war, Gideonz Army also declare war on the mic. But who do they declare war on?
“Walking in power, making these demons quiver, load up my ammunition, cock and squeeze and deliver,” the intention of Gideonz Army is quite clear. Gideonz Army is here to make war with the world, the devil and the principalities and power of this age. Their Gun is the Word, their transport is the trunk rattlers and neck breaker tracks that they breathe upon and their victory is found in Christ. This intro track sets the tone for the rest of the album. Over a banging, chanting beat, the three rappers step in and take charge. From auto-tuned lyrics like, “I’m a praise his name, who’s name, that name whose blood was stained” they are here to make noise for Christ and preach Christ in places where Satan has a huge stronghold. That is the resolve of the album and the mission of Gideonz Army; to take the gospel into places such as clubs & the hood where the gospel might not penetrate any other way.
The rappers can most definitely deliver on the mic. The three rappers are quite varied in their style, yet somehow their deliveries work seamlessly into the fabric of the track without feeling disjointed. Malachi’s rapid fire delivery is balanced perfectly with Souljah’s smooth delivery while Monolog’s rough voice is utilized tremendously on the hooks. The subject is not theologically deep but then again, that’s not their mission. The subjects that they do address, from talking about poverty and pride on “Ride if you Wanna” to answering tough life questions asked by many kids in the hood about whether something can change for the better on “Thug Worship,” are immensely practical and meant to resonate with their target audience. “Take Back” is the highlight of the album. With a smooth, laid back track the rappers ponder about taking back rap from the commercialization. The K-Drama produced “Open Door”, with sharp snares and monstrous bass, this G.A. Anthem gets your head bobbing while delivering a message of growing in Christ and the importance of following the directions of Christ.
But this is exactly where the glaring problem lies. This is where the army misfires. It is full of auto tune from top to bottom. In fact, the listener will struggle to find a track without some use of auto tune. This heavy reliance on auto tune makes the album sound really dated. This album should have been released in 2008, instead of 2011.
Their greatest strength is their lyrical ability, which is also their downside. The army can fire, but the beats just don’t fit their rhyme patterns and rapid-fire deliveries. All beats sound like made on one keyboard with the use of the same kicks, snare and synths. The production is a big letdown for the emcees. The similarity in the beats dulls the album. Through the first listen, the album sounds fresh and new. Through the 4th listen, you would struggle to get through it as it gets repetitive fairly quickly. Add in the mixture, some auto-tune and it gets irritating fairly quickly.
The song, “Whole Lotta” embodies failures of this project. Why don’t rappers in CHH realize that swag has left the secular field? While we are still making songs about swag with auto-tune and full synth driven sounds, which would fit in nicely in 2008, the game has changed. Auto-tune is barely heard in hip hop nowadays and swag is nowhere to be found. Even the album cover would have fit right in, back in 2009. But two years later, the stance is just dated.
The mixing and mastering is also mediocre. Some tracks start off really heavy and the same sample is then dulled out for the remainder of the song, leaving the listener in an anticlimactic state. The adlibs and background vocals sound too faded at times and too loud at other times. The transition from the verse to the chorus is often so choppy that the punch lines ending the verse are not grasped and so the intended effect of the topic is dulled.
Ultimately this project was designed to infiltrate the secular market and reach people not normally reached by CHH. The topics covered and rhyme skills are on point. However G.A. has the ability to hype the crowd at a concert but it won’t keep the attendees from listening to the project to contemplate the many good questions raised due to the dated nature of the tracks. So if you are dancer, into dirty south, crunk music or just like to roll round the neighborhood with huge beats pumping out the whip, pick this project up.
1. Music – 6
2. Flow – 7
3. Creativity / Originality – 4
4. Relevancy – 6
5. Content & Character – 7
6. Credibility & Confidence – 7
7. Personality – 8
8. Presentation Quality – 7
9. Overall Production Quality – 6
10. Potential Impact – 6