The Am-ba-ss-a-dor is BACK! That’s right folks! For those who didn’t know, a type of required hiatus caused Ambassador to take a complete step back from ministry for a time. And according to one close the Am-ba’ he was truly blessed to have a solid group of mature leaders around him to help reconcile the situation. And many might have written off Ambassador’s musical ministry, or ministry in general, to the grave. Well, “Stop the Funeral.”
I need to make an initial point before proceeding. When I found faith in Christ Jesus it was a year or so before the Cross Movement “Heaven’s Mentality” album dropped. There really wasn’t much Christian rap/hip-hop music of any real quality out there. But that album changed everything and I can still, to this day, quote half of the lyrics from that album. Of all the songs I loved and memorized, Ambassador’s songs were chief of all. This carried over for the next couple albums and Ambassador’s first album “Christology” was sick. But after that the music coming from the Movement and even the Ambassador just wasn’t as good and was getting poorer by the album. I was falling out of love, so to speak, with CM just as a treasure of new artists appeared (including through CMR).
As such, I came into “Stop the Funeral” with low expectations but hoping for good things. Yea, I know, kinda contradictory. But I’m sure there are many of you that are just like me. We didn’t really love what had come out most recently so we expect that “Stop the Funeral” will just end up digging a deeper hole. But at the same time we really want the hole to be filled in and see a kind of resurrection occur. Well my friends if that’s how you feel then it’s time to put a very big smile on your face and consider “Stop the Funeral” a musical Lazarus.
I think it may be very true that some of the best material for writing, especially for music, comes through the toughest and most trying of situations. And Lord knows how difficult Ambassador’s has been and that means that the product, at least the writing, will be good. And it is.
There are plethoras of redeeming qualities of “Stop the Funeral.” Whether it’s the first time Cruz Cordero and Ambassador have been on a track together since Cross Movement’s “House of Representatives,” or to have Mali Music on a track, or Canton Jones, or the power and beauty of “Crumbs” (probably my favorite track), or any other list of great reasons, this is a really, really good album. Okay, it’s not brilliant and amazing in the way that Heaven’s Mentality was, but from the greatest of depths has arisen a powerful, God fearing, solid, purchase worthy album. In a way, it’s rather refreshing.
There are a few things I didn’t like. Not all the beats were great, but none were poor. It’s just that, for me, some became monotonous at times. Of the few tracks I didn’t care for, “Put It Down” was like an imitation southern track with a faux southern swag from Ambassador. I just didn’t like the track as a whole, but it wasn’t horrible and I’m sure many people may really like it. “Pop, Pop, Pop” just didn’t work for me either. Dare I say the track became annoying? “Nothing Like Us” was cool overall, but the Nextel walkie-talkie beep was exceedingly annoying. While I have a few negative things to say, each track was thick lyrically and Ambassador’s delivery and lyricism really shined on every track.
And since I took a moment for a few negatives, allow me to do the same for some standouts. I already mentioned “Crumbs,” which I come to enjoy more and more with every listen. And I really don’t like slower rap tracks, but everything just seemed to work on this one. Jessica Reedy’s vocals were fantastic and there was great harmony with the beat. Each verse is a really humbling story taken straight out of scripture. The first verse goes over Mark 17:24-30, the second Luke 7:1-10 and the last from Mark 5:25, 34. The sufficiency of just the littlest bits from Christ… sorry, it just moves me.
The Rock infused “Your Love” ft. KJ52 and Michelle Bonilla was vibrant and reminiscent of a praise & worship song. I loved the aggressive nature of “Talk This Way.” The smoothed out “Trust In You” ft. Mali Music was like classic Ambassador made new. Also, the “Reunion Cypha” was fantastic. It’s crazy to have Ambassador, Shai Linne, Cruz Cordero and J.A.Z. on the same track. And yet it all worked and God’s Servant and C-Lite were big standouts on the track for me too. But Ambassador had no intention of being outdone as he simply merked the track – kinda saving the best for last. Overall, a really good album.
For those of you that knew of Ambassador’s most recent issues and are concerned, I implore you to listen first and judge second. Like me you ought to find all of your concerns answered as Ambassador makes a point to deal with this recent, incredibly difficult time in his life within the songs. In turn they become a testament to God’s grace, goodness, forgiveness and ability to reconstitute His children. Let us lead with grace and forgiveness. Daniel 9:8-12, Luke 24:46-48, Ephesians 1:3-10.
1. Music – 6
2. Flow/Delivery – 8
3. Lyricism – 9
4. Content – 9
5. Creativity/Originality/Relevancy – 7
6. Credibility & Confidence – 9
7. Personality & Character – 10
8. Presentation Quality – 8
9. Overall Production Quality – 8
10. Potential Impact – 7