For those not in the know, Spoken has been gaining a decent amount of buzz in the Christian Hip Hop scene. He’s recently appeared on DJ Wade-O’s Top 20 songs of 2010. Homie’s on the way up in our scene. This had me intrigued to hear his debut, as I’m always hype to see hungry new artists with a passion for the creative and the Creator launch long and successful careers. So, as disappointing as it is for me to say, “Bright Days, Dark Nights” the latest drop from Spoken, is a fantastic idea with so-so execution.
First, Bright Days, Dark Nights is a concept album. And a great concept at that! Throughout the project, Spoken attempts to convey the reality of struggles (dark nights) and victories (bright days) that are present in every life. Most importantly, Spoken points to the purposes of God behind every dark night, so that every listener would know that God’s purpose is gracious even in the midst of intense pain and disappointment. Beautiful.
Unfortunately, the backdrops behind many of the tracks are hit and miss. Take “Hold Me” for example. “Hold Me,” a track about the closeness of God in the middle of pain, utilizes an awesome sample—the song “Going the Distance” from Rocky!* But, the way the sample is mixed and tinkered is extremely disappointing. It’s essentially the song, but with a generic 808 in the background. What’s the result? An uneven track.
Also, Jay-Z, Da’ TRUTH, Spoken does sound a little too much like some of your favorite artists. Sometimes, his flow, though not bad, is indistinguishable from the aforementioned emcees. Now, is he double-biting? I’ll let the listener decide. But, I was not a huge fan of uncanny similarities he had with TRUTH and Jay.
Once again, the content is excellent. I’m happy he dealt with a subject that every Christian struggles with—namely, the sovereignty of God in our pain. But, these issues were problematic to the artistic merit of the record. A little creativity on the next project will go a long way for this talented rapper. I’d strongly suggest giving it a listen (you may totally disagree upon hearing him for yourself), but I believe Spoken can take his craft to the next level with a little more separation from the musical inspirations behind his style.
*If you’re reading this and have not heard the first Rocky soundtrack…turn your computer off right now. Netflix that movie. Trust me.
Credibility and Confidence -7
Personality and Character- 8
Presentation Quality- 7
Production Quality- 6
Potential Impact- 6