State of the art.
That’s the best way to describe Mark J’s “An Everyday World.” Quite simply, the album has everything for the 2009 hip hop fan, believer, and then some. It has the forward thinking beats and themes to grab anyone fortunate enough to cop this. I can’t get past this paragraph without letting you know how impressed I am with an artist I had casually enjoyed, but clearly slept on.
For starters, I LOVED the sonic direction this album took. I see the N.E.R.D./Rhema Soul influencing many of the tracks. “Marvelous Light”, a G-Styles produced banger, infectiously grabs the listener with the house bass line and heavy synth. The title track has an equally hot song, with great background vocals from the under appreciated Tena Jones (props to 4th Ave Jones!). There are a few other tracks that could be bumped in a European dance club, but they impressively have enough unique sounds to differentiate themselves.
Even better, I am proud to announce that…Mark J has successfully pulled off a crunk song! I haven’t enjoyed a crunk jam since junior high, but I genuinely enjoyed his “Ride Out.” Not because I particularly enjoyed the “EY, EY” on the hook, but because the emcees destroyed the track. Mark J comes at (rightfully so), both extremes of the Christian hip hop fence. On one side, you have the braggadocio “Christian” emcees that talk more about their skill than their Savior. On the other side are the rappers that pride themselves on their humility, if you catch my drift. Both are wrong, and Mark sets them straight. I was definitely not expecting a potent theme like that in a sub-genre most associated with syzzurp and phlegmy choruses.
Of course, you can’t discuss “An Everyday World” without Mark J’s holistic worldview. He makes a point of attaching his Christian beliefs to more than just gang banging and gay behavior. Take “Baby U Don’t Love Me.” A fantastic sample-driven beat carries the powerful message of maintaining a healthy marriage. He explains the need for Christians to exemplify what marriage needs to look like, giving the listener an open window into his marital issues. Of course, he gives a first-hand experience of God’s restorative work in his family as an encouragement to anyone falling short in this critical area.
“Darfur Dreams” forces believers to weigh the issues that don’t occur in the 50 states. The ethnic cleansing in Darfur is a human tragedy, and Mark J shows the necessity of those who claim faith in Christ to work towards the end of the genocide (James 2:20). The song isn’t the best artistically, but the pure importance of the message gives it some bonus points.
So there you have it. You really can’t go wrong with this one. “An Everyday World” is a tremendously well-rounded project solid in all areas. Mark J doesn’t need the fanciest wordplay or finest exegesis to put his latest album on your must-have album. He gives you something that is well-rounded and progressive, with enough meat for any believer to feel challenged to step up their walk and make an impact. He shows that through revealing the fullness of the Gospel in our everyday lives, our depraved Everyday World can be redeemed!
Oh and also, the beats are SERIOUS.
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Review by: Church Boy
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