I feel sorry for anyone purchasing this album that doesn’t have a quality home or car system. They will truly be missing out on a large piece of what makes this album exceptional, the heart pounding bass.
This album, to me, is everything that is good about the South and Mid-West when it comes to music. We got that southern slang, swag and delivery. We got that strong melodic bass. We got tracks that make you want to two-step, city boy, or whatever, and…we have Holy Hip Hop’s additions of creativity and having a solid message. Take The City may only have 13 tracks, but they encompass all of those things I mentioned and on a consistent basis.
One item of note is that all but 4 tracks (that’s 70%) contain at least one feature artist. Normally that is a sign of the weakness of an artist, that he or she requires lots of other voices to carry an album because their own isn’t strong enough. But don’t get it twisted. Most of the features really carry a very small element of the track and are there seemingly as a means to perfect the creation, not to be the guiding light. This is especially evident with tracks like Reach for the Sky (ft. Andrea Edmond), Wedding Song (ft. Canton Jones), Dance Song (ft. Ramona Jones) and Wait (ft. Iefanyi). I think that instead of showing weakness, this shows that Messenja knows what makes good music and consistently picks the rights pieces for the right puzzles.
Now, as one of the most vocal and dogmatic critics in HHH, I really find little in this album to be critical about. The production throughout the album is phenomenal and the bass bangs every track. The tracks are up-to-date with what’s hot right now and relfect some very popular tracks and artists in the secular industry without being a carbon copy of anybody. Messenja also has one of the better vocal deliveries in the game while also seeming to touch on nearly everything possible. Let’s break it down to see. He’s got the club dance track (Dance Song), the proud father track (Baby Daddy Song), the street tracks (Slow and Krunk), the bubble gum radio friendly banger (Can’t Help It), the kind of worship track (Wait), the serious topic slow jam track (Yes), the hot commercial rap/R&B blend (Reach for the Sky), the pro-marriage track (Wedding Song) and the all around certified bangers (Take The City, its remix and Heaven N Ya Speakers). I have to admit, that’s not a bad deal and it seems that there is a wave of quality Christian emcees now who know how to make both songs and albums. Messenja is certainly one of them and he’s surfing that wave with ease.
Question: If a bunch of Christians were going to surf some waves together, would they be Body Surfing?
Ahem, um, sorry for digressing. These things just pop into my head sometimes. Anyway, back to what you’re here for… and if it’s bad jokes then I got a milliyon (no reference to the feature artist on this album). Ahem, um, sorry… again.
Of all of the great tracks on this album there are a few additional notables. Let’s start with the sour note. On the track Yes, Erica Cumbo really did not hit the track running. The lead into the track was a mess of off notes and consequently off harmonies. Eventually it works itself out, but one should never start a track so ruff, as people like me quickly skip tracks when that occurs in order to avoid the potential of serious and maybe even permanent injury. There was, however, another reason why Messenja recruits singers to sing on his tracks, when you hear Messenja on Wait you’re going to do that face twisting expression like you just got a whiff of something that really stinks, really badly.
So with that sour note out of the way, let’s get to some stand out tracks. The title track, Take The City, is sure to be a lead single even though it’s actually the lead-in track for the album. It has a solid blend of old and new styles layered with heavy melodic pounding bass lines, which sets up everything this album is about. This track bangs! But all that is only emphasized more by the Take The City remix, which features Canton Jones, Mr. Del, Milliyon, Mouthpiece and – huh, this can’t be right? – the surprise element to the track, Corey Red. WOW! All those artists made sense together until I got to Corey Red, who naturally kills the track, so great job by Messenja for making the impossible and unimaginable happen.
Another stand out is the album’s second track, Heaven N Ya Speakers, which is an excellent change up that gives me flashes of something that 116 Clique would have done. Leading off with a hard rock guitar riff was brilliant and a fantastic add throughout the track and was never over done. So many elements just came together in their perfect place in the perfect amounts at the perfect levels doing so much more than just “…putting heaven in your speakers, woofers and your tweeters.” If someone just likes downloading individual tracks in stead of a whole album, well this one should be near the top of the list.
So let’s sum this all up. If you have a dope system, buy this album. If you love good God-fearing music, buy this album. If you love mid-west and southern music, buy this album. If you are wanting to increase your book of music and/or add something different, up-to-date and fantastic to your mp3 device, BUY THIS ALBUM! If your system is wack, operates on less than 10 watts, has it’s speaker cones smashed and surrounding area torn, is limited to frequencies that adversely effect household pets and draws swarms of bats around your residence or vehicle at night, well… buy some new stinking equipment fam! What are you doing buying music anyway!? There should be criminal charges for cats like you! Oh, then go buy Messenja, Take The City.
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Review by: DJ Guardian
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