Swoope – Wake Up
Reviewed by: Neil Christian
Rating: 7.3 (Out of 10)
There are millions of people around the world making music. Out of this millions, probability dictates that there are hundreds
of prodigies out of whom maybe a handful will achieve any type of success and recognition. In this CHH and hip-hop climate dominated by rappers and beat-makers, every few years a real musician will break through the glass ceiling and remind us of what music is. Welcome, Swoope.
Wake Up contains none of the cookie-cutter sounds that dominate the popular CHH albums. There are 7 tracks out of 15 that clock in over 5 minutes. Swoope does not care for the 3 minute, verse/hook/verse convention, rather choosing to focus on the things that matter, namely the music and the lyrics. There is no need to look further than the “Murder Me – Eulogy Interlude”, which features a finely-crafted piano riff for 4 minutes then the last two minutes feature an electric guitar solo, all encompassed by heavy ambiance that is absolutely stunning. This is music. This is art.
Even on the so-called “commercial” tracks, such as “Beautiful Rise” which features auto-tuned chorus, heavy euro-style synths and drum patterns, are done so well that you will have this song on repeat before long. However, the album’s climax is really “Blind Eye”. Supported by the crooner Frank Ocean Christon Gray (and some rhythmic synths and hypnotic drums for good measure), the track is the perfect canvas for Swoope to paint his weighty indictments against believers: I’m lying if I tell you that I can’t see, you dying just as long as it aint me/Sex trade, little girls getting slaughtered, as long as it aint my little girl I aint bothered/ Wall Street getting occupied, who cares call me when somebody dies/Hurricane took your power? My God, hold that thought, I got to charge my iPod!”*
This is truth music; the type of music that you don’t hear in many popular CHH albums. We hear a lot of killing my flesh, killing sin, preaching the gospel etc. , but we never hear the application of what we learn on Sunday. Wake Up helpThis album is worth its weight in gold.
There is however one impeachment against the album. The mixing and mastering is horrible on this project. I could not believe my eyes when I read that it was Wit who had done post-recording on it. I mean, that’s the same guy who made this. The vocals were overwhelmingly loud, the tracks elements were not clear; this was “Murphy’s Law“ on display. This was also not a case of listening on a pair of cheap iPhone headphones; the album was reviewed on a pair of $500 headphones.**
Also, there was booklet with the album. No lyrics, no nice production credits, no thank you, nothing. I am the last of a dying breed who still buy physical CDs for the experience of opening the case, browsing through the inserts and then finally putting the CD in the deck and pressing play. Music is about the emotion and the experience.
Swoope is that new prodigy, a breath of fresh air ordained by God to breath a fresh air into the saturated hip hop market. Our music reflects the character and nature of the God we worship; if he is perfect and has made us perfect in his image then as his ambassadors, it is time we accepted the responsibility and started to create beautiful music that glorifies God. Thank God for young Swoope, the High Society movement, and all who call us to excel in every aspect of our lives, not just on Sundays. To my readers, Wake Up!
*Very briefly addressing the Kanye/Lupe similarities in flow and sound allegations; yes the similarities are there, in the same way that Mozart sounds like Beethoven. Nevertheless, I for one am glad that Swoope is lifting his inspiration from geniuses rather than jokers.
**Almost every project that comes across my desk lacks in this critical area. Many artists need to study the secular greats like Dre and learn that it is the post-production process that differentiates legends from good producers. Dr. Dre’s beats are not complex; the reason that he is a legend lies in his post–production process.
Rating – 7.3
1. Music – 9
2. Flow – 8
3. Creativity / Originality – 9
4. Relevancy – 8
5. Content & Character – 7
6. Credibility & Confidence – 8
7. Personality – 8
8. Presentation Quality – 5
9. Overall Production Quality – 5
10. Potential Impact – 6