$3,500 to $50,000 is the price range currently listed on EBay for fourteen 1964 Chevy Impalas. This classic vehicle is one of several required items which will ensure the maximum listening experience possible from the Rated R album.
The complete list:
- One 1964 Chevy Impala with a low-rider hydraulic suspension
- One high-end Car audio system with no less than one pair of 12” subwoofers, 15s are better
- Three head nodding friends
What am I trying to say? Simply put, this album features some classic driving music. The beats bang so hard that you will play this in your car not till the wheels fall off, but till the E light turns on.
I hope that this review will aid any listener who finds himself walking to the gas station with a plastic jug and ponders, “How did this happen to me?” The following three sections should provide an answer.
1. Synopsis – A quick review statement for those of you who get sleepy after reading 2 paragraphs.
2. General Review – The regular album review breakdown
3. Track by track analysis – For the mp3 single track shoppers out there
Synopsis – Great Beats, Good lyrics. Christians are attacked from all sides by the secular world and even members in the body of Christ. Big R has shifted from the standard defensive play in preference for a full responsive auditory assault on the enemy. No punches are held back and swift musical jabs are followed by crushing lyrical uppercuts. A few of Big Rs’ punches missed their mark; still, before the final bell rang the enemy was well acquainted with the finer details of the floor mat. God Chaserz Entertainment and Big R Clean Rich Records produced an album that bass-addicted Down-South listeners will love and lyricism listeners can enjoy.
General Review – Those of you who are not well versed on the artist Big R should know that Rated R is his second full length LP. In 2005 he released the “Let Em Go” album which is available for download at holyculturedownload.com (don’t forget that endorsement check). Comparing both albums I arrived at two conclusions. One, Big R has an ear for quality music. Two, he surrounds himself with people who churn out quality work. “Let em Go” was produced by Tony Stone and “Rated-R” features production from Tony Stone Beats, GodChaserz Entertainment, Beatlab 7 and Genuine Life Productions.
The general premise given by Big R on his mypace page says “Rated R deals with being who God calls us to be even if we are rejected, ridiculed and restricted from every segment of society. As a Pastor (Pastor Macon, Pastor of Faith That Works Christian Church located in China Grove, North Carolina), business man, and rapper I’ve learned to be who God called me to be in spite of how people wanted to define me. This cd really gets into who Big R is, and lets us know that we too can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It ministers that we can do anything that he called us into regardless of what mere man might say or think.”
Those who listened to the Let Em Go album might agree with me that it featured primarily soulful, jazzy beats which allowed Big R to take his listeners to church. Rated-R’s production continues the musical journey by transporting the listener from the church to the battlefield. Tracks like “Re Up” “I Wanna Win” and “Hold it down” create the marching beat for the army as we set off to face our foe. God, our Commander-in-Chief, monitors from His throne room while General Jesus Christ leads from the front line and Secretary of Defense the Holy Spirit equips all soldiers for the coming conflict. Marching in the office of Lieutenant is Big R accompanied by his peers Knine, Brinson and Readywriter.
To energize soldier morale, Big R chants “If its hard my people yo hold your ground/ When your back’s against the wall yo hold it down/ Don’t budge let em know why you stand your ground/ Stand firm to the death of the Christ we never scared.” Knine further details how steadfast a soldier for Christ should be when he says “Homie I’m no punk/ it wouldn’t matter if they shoot me with a pump/ Threw me in a trunk/ or put me on a boat while it sunk or sank/ Go to my bank and take every cent/ I will still represent Jesus Christ/ Before I deny him once I will quote Ephesians 1:3 twice.” (Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.)
When both armies come face to face on the battlefield Big R negotiates the enemy’s surrender on the track What’s it Gon’ Be. “Tell me what’s it gon be/ Pimpin what’s it gon be/ Tell me what its gon be/ Pimpin what’s it gon be/ Wanna get the dough Jacob order all the ice/ Shorty get at him cause you know he aint right/ Tell me what’s it gon be/ Short what’s it gon be/ Tell me what its gon’ be/ Is it Gon Be Christ?
The world opts to continue its rejection of Christ. A number of Christians who expected a swift victory turn around and desert the army. Big R shrugs his shoulders and says “I Tried but still I Wanna Win” and he Goes Off charging the enemy front lines! Brinson and Ready Writer get On Fire and unleash lyrical swords raining destruction upon the enemy. Even with these noble efforts the battle wages on into the night, and as darkness rises hope diminishes. Soldiers now fatigued consider desertion, surrender or a swift death. Noting this Big R sends the order through the the ranks “Re up all get that weight up/ hit em hard like Laila take em way up/ Sling Carolina Sling til they wake up/ give em heaven don’t give em time to brace for it/ Plus I’m hard with it hit em quick pimpin/ don’t wait get em saved while they dirty gritty/ Get the loons now get the goons too/ get tho ho’s boy hookers and prostitutes” This engergetic call pulsates through the lines and the army responds mounting a new assault. At dawn the Morning Son rises over the battle field to the sight of a vast army of Christians now called Over Comers. Though victorious they are still Rated-R however no longer are they rejected, ridiculed and restricted. Rather they are regenerated reconciled and redeemed by the blood of the lamb.
Big R then makes a final appeal to the remaining opposition to surrender their lives to Christ and the album is brought to a close.
I hope you enjoyed the thematic overview. Now I shall focus on some of the album’s individual parts.
Concept – The album design is based on the Rated-R found in the MPAA’s rating system. GodChaserz used four skits portraying a movie set along with album art of Big R outside of a movie theatre to communicate this film theme to the listener. Unfortunately this concept does not carry over from the short skits to the songs, resulting in the movie being forgotten during the majority of the listening session. Also the album art comes off as neutral and does not choose a side for whether this is a negative or positive message being approached in the project. A little more work on the skits and edgier imagery would have helped to solidify in the listeners’ minds in the Rated-R concept.
Lyricism – I have applauded the production throughout this album because it does deserve recognition. Well the lyricism delivers as well. Big R knows his strengths, so he uses his preachers’ conversational tone to speak to the audience as opposed to attempting to impress them with witty one liners or complex verbiage. This lyrically places him in the middle lane between the lyrical lexicons at the right and the nursery rhyme rappers to his left. This method works for the most part and listeners are capable of feeling the passion and energy of the artist while at the same time fully receiving his message. However, on some occasions Big R veers a little off his lane. Unfortunately this occurred on two crucial tracks “Rated-R” the album’s title and opening track and “Mr Secular,” where he takes the fight directly into the enemy’s camp. His lyricism on both of these tracks was a bit unpolished and if the secular audience he wants to minister to rated him by these tracks alone he would be considered amateurish. Also on the track “Fast R”, Big R tries his hand amongst the lyricist with a double-paced delivery. His technique is skillfully executed, but a double-paced rhyme demands complex lyrical wordplay to merit listeners having to focus more intently on his bars. Here his conversational approach is insufficient, and I compare it to a beautiful fireworks display without once hearing a bang. I take my time to point this out because often rappers seem to have spent far too little time on the lyrics for crucial tracks, especially their title ones. This must not happen. While these missteps occurred, they were the exception and Big R shows that he is certified under the hip-hop rulebook to minister through rap as opposed to the many who certify themselves without due process (wack rappers who swear they’re the nicest voice you’ve ever heard).
Track by track analysis
- Intro: Skit
- Rated R: Great west coast, g-funk, rida beat by Tony Stone, not matched by under-polished lyrics. This track breaks down the albums theme of confronting restriction and rejection.
- Who it Gon’ Be: Down South overloaded bass and synthesized beat by Crucial. Big R shows his love for the South by going 100 on his delivery, confidence and swagger set to overload. Souls trapped in the world are asked which side they will choose, Christ or Satan.
- Re up: Monster sized beat. R easily rides the track. Will have you chanting “Re up” and wishing the track was longer. Re up basically is a call for revitalization amongst the believers for soul winning.
- I Tried: Soulfully rich beat takes us to church. Big R gives his personal take on betrayal by members of the body then he redirects us to God who is forever faithful.
- I Wanna Win: Haunting Synthesized beat. Big R speaks on his determination to win the battle for Christ no matter the cost. Track evokes an emotion of persistence and hope in the listener.
- Love You Better: Mellow R&B style track. R uses his singing muscle featuring Rossi on the chorus. Big R details his growth in his relationship with Christ then reflects on his childhood family struggles. This is the most heartfelt and emotional track on the album.
- Fast R: Crunk, Rock infused beat. Double paced flow delivery by Big R is done effectively but lacks on lyricism. One of the albums forgettable tracks.
- Mr Secular: A rich layered beat with keys, claps, bass and synthesis. Big R confronts the secular artist but confrontation requires a top notch delivery and this was not the case.
- Hold it Down: Bass Laden G-funk beat with nice layered effects. This is the march out anthem of the album. Big R and Knine bring their A game on this track. The message is similar to Re Up and I Wanna Win in that it energizes the camp but the emotion of hope is amped up to relentless determination.
- Where Would I Go: Here R simply says that there is no place for him to be outside of Christ.
- On Fire: GodChaserz Entertainment artists Big R. Brinson and Ready Writer Get it Dunnnn (get to the work assigned them by God). Energetic delivery but it could have been amped up a little more in order to stand on par with Hold it Down and Who it Gon Be.
- Go Off: Krunk aint dead according to this track. Big R blazes through this track. Breakers, dancers and step crews will love this track. The final record on the album calls us to put God first and give him all our energy.
- The set finale & Salvation Call: I appreciate how the album ends with a call for the lost to initiate a relationship with Christ. I am intrigued how he listed his “personal cell number”. Yea it has been done before, but I would like to see how this will work out.
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Review by: Church Boy
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