Some know him as a common thief; a liar and back-stabber. Others remember him by his infamous and ever-so-expensive property vandalism. Women of his past acknowledge him as a creep, only good for a one-night stand. Old friends call him a shady drug addict while local pawn shop owners still share that same common question “Where did he get all that stuff?” You however, may know him as an industry audio engineer, networking guru, video blogger, rapper and Founder/Producer of Beat Lab 7 Productionz. The story of Matthew James Slyman aka “Crucial” is one that will truly prove the miraculous workings of a great, mighty and sovereign God…
So are we going to get into the entire story?
Crucial has plenty of information to give (concerning his bio and testimony) from his Myspace page, Facebook profile, and his official website. The important thing here is to stress that this man is a new creature; a transformed soul who, day by day, is putting Romans 12:2 into practice. Most of you are already familiar with the “Music Meets the Truth” compilation, which contains some of Crucial’s finest beat production (along with the production of his partner, s.a.i.n.t. jon). Some of you have recorded from Crucial’s studio (CrossWorks Studio – Charlotte, NC) and/or hired Crucial to mix and master your songs/albums. There’s even a growing viewer base keeping up with the vlogs (video blogs) that Crucial posts every day, Monday thru Friday, on Myspace, Facebook and Youtube. This man of God has been busy and on his “grizzly” for nearly 7 years now, pursuing a life fully devoted to serving the Lord with his gifts and talents. However, one thing about Crucial that most people have failed to latch on to, is his ability as a rapper and lyricist.
Crucial released his first full length album “Not of this World”, back in April 2005. While the creativity, wordplay and lyrical ability was on point; the beats were amateur, the sound quality was not quite “up to par”, and Crucial’s actual “flow” and “delivery” was very…..well…..dry and ”beginner-ish” (if that’s even a word). The album barely sold 1,000 copies and never really made any of the industry’s top DJ playlists.
Crucial’s next solo project was a shorter “EP” album titled “Without Compromise”, which dropped in early 2006. This album did a little better (as far as sales), the beats were stronger, the hooks were catchier and we could definitely tell Crucial was improving on his “delivery”.
Other than featuring on other artists’ albums, Crucial hasn’t really pursued the industry as an artist since 2007. Most of his work has been dedicated to CrossWorks Studio, Beat Lab 7 Productionz and the “Music Meets the Truth” albums (which continue to release every year and have slowly become one of the most downloaded compilation albums in the Gospel rap community). However, as we enter further into 2009, Crucial is finally stepping back out on the scene with a brand new, full length solo album titled “The Hard Truth”.
So what’s to be expected with this new album? Well first of all, this will be the first album EVER to be released one hit single at a time. “I’ve been monitoring the industry for a long time now and I think it’s time we find new ways to conform to the digital era” says Crucial. “The only people who are still doing well with album sales are the artists who are distributed by major companies, backed by major advertising campaigns.” Crucial believes that the market is flooded with too much music and the consumer is bombarded every week with brand new full length albums (in which they rarely purchase). Most consumers will simply go for the “hot single” and, at best, browse through some of the other album samples to see if anything else “grabs” their attention. “I want to give people a chance to hear this album” Crucial goes on to say, “feeding them one small bite at a time; rather than drop a whole 15 tracks on them and expect for them to just gobble up the whole thing when most of these people haven’t even heard of me.” So Crucial will be digitally dropping one song per month for the next 12 months, and then eventually, will put them all together on CD and release it as an actual “album”.
Another thing to be expected with this album is some of the hottest beats ever put out by Beat Lab 7 Productionz. These guys have come a long way with their compilations; and if you like what you’ve heard so far, you can expect “The Hard Truth” to be an absolute treat! Crucial will actually be doing most of the production; and apparently, he has also been working craftily at his wordplay and delivery. “I want to reintroduce myself as an artist” Crucial says. “And I want to speak about some real issues that really weigh on my heart. There are things I see going on all around me every day that make me just want to jump out of my skin; not just with other people, but also with myself!” Crucial plans on delivering an edgy album that will hopefully speak to a lot of people and capture the attention of a complacent and near-apathetic generation.
So when does it all go down? Look out on April 7th, as the entire “Hard Truth” campaign begins with the first single titled “Whatcha Doin’ Man!?”. Crucial’s official website will be completely revamped with a whole new look and new features. Keep a close eye at www.crucialbeats.com and www.myspace.com/crucialrhymes. This will surely be an audible experience you DON’T want to miss out on!