Album haul? Losing My Religion, You’re a Man Now Boy and more.

Recently I went on a shopping spree. For music. I decided that I was able to spend a little and treat myself for managing my finances well and don’t regret it because they were quality purchases. I don’t buy music unless I have previewed the release so I know and believe in the quality of music. Here’s a break-down of some of what I decided to buy and I’ll try convince you that it’s worth buying too.

LED EP – Kierra Sheard

The “Princess of Gospel’s” follow-up project to her successful Graceland album is exactly that. A continuation of the new musical direction she’s following, a pop/rock concept with modern R&B nuances. With the right mix and appeal, it is keepi46170-ledng her artistry on-point and adding to her versatility as an artist. In my opinion, there are a few quality songs that I imagine in my head have the right flavour to have commercial success, ‘LED’ and ‘Real Friend’ are some of my personal favourites. I would go right ahead and blast those songs while cruising in my car (once I get one) or play while enjoying a workout. Up-tempo, Up-beat and Uplifting to the soul. Definitely a refreshing sound to the majestic, instrument-laden, powerhouse sound of contemporary Gospel right now but at the same time, she hasn’t abandoned her foundation. A worthwhile, inexpensive buy.

You’re a Man Now, Boy – Raleigh Ritchie

With acting credits in Adulthood and Game of Thrones, Ritchie’s first full length offering to the world You’re a Man Now, Boy is a significant contribution to repertoire of the new age, quality British music that has the identity to compete with the very best. A British man, who sings/raps British with songs that are contextually British, what more can you ask for? His unique vocals go hand in hand with the experimental, alternative R&B sound the album has, with a good mix of radio hits, club tracks, commercial singles, festival favourites and ballads. My stand-out track has to ‘Keep It Simple’ with Grime heavyweight Stormzy and is the only song with a feature on the entire 18-track album. I compare Raleigh Ritchie’s artistry as being the lovechild of early Kanye and Coldplay. With a real eclectic group working on the production, I believe there is something for everyone on this album in the sense that if people genuinely give this album a chance, they would be vibing along to it at the end.

Losing My Religion – Kirk Franklin

The figurehead for modern Gospel, Kirk Franklin’s latest, Losing My Religion is his first project in four years. Fans were greatly anticipating, especially with the almost spontaneous release of the soul-stirring lead single ‘Wanna Be Happy?’ and they were not disappointed. I only had to listen to it through once to be convinced that it is Grammy worthy. The album sonically and content-wise takes you on a journey. It addresses themes of facing and overcoming adversity, redemption & honesty while encapsulating the authentic realities of many people in America and the whole world. My favourite song has to be ‘When’ which features two of arguably the best living vocalists in existence, Kim Burrell and Lalah Hathaway. Anyone who appreciates vocals, will love this one. Production-wise, the album embodies a whole manner of instruments and sounds which work together pleasantly for the listeners enjoyment. Relevant yet an ode to Kirk Franklin as a musician and his legacy.

Charlene – Tweet

It has been more than 10 years since Tweet last released an album but it’s been worth the wait. “Gorgeous” were my first impressions of her new album Charlene (which is her first name) as a true homage to real R&B flows throughout its entirety. Famed for her international hit ‘Oops (Oh My)’ featuring good friend Missy Elliot back in 2002, Tweet’s https://i1.wp.com/static.spin.com/files/2016/02/tweet-charlene-new-album-missy-elliott-somebody-else-will-compressed.jpegartistry has come a long way since then. Themes of Love, Intimacy and overcoming adversity is passionately paired with the sounds of guitars and pianos, the foundation of good R&B and Soul. Missy Elliot happens to feature on what is my favourite song on the album ‘Somebody Else Will’ produced by none other than Timbaland himself; R&B arrangements with a Hip-Hop beat equaling another Timbaland classic. Any appreciator of R&B, Soul, vocals or real instruments will appreciate the realness and emotions in every song she wrote and fall in love with this album like I did. Grammy worthy.

 

Anomaly by Lecrae

‘Anomaly’ is the 2014 release from Grammy Award winning rapper Lecrae. This release serves as his seventh studio album and his fourth body of work in the last 3 years. Despite the minimal features compared to his last album, Anomaly performed well commercially, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 and listening to the album in its entirety, one can understand why.

The album has an underlying theme musically, taking you on a journey of big production and orchestration which you can pick up from the first track ‘Outsiders’. It entices the listener in with symphony of violins and the grand piano right before the hip-hop beat comes through, something any rap fan would appreciate. The fusion of the two brings the best of both worlds. ‘Outsiders’ has to be one of my favourite songs. ‘Fear’ also follows a similar path with the chorus bassline.

Lecrae has always been one for messages that make you think and ‘Welcome to America’ does exactly that. It is a thought provoking narrative into the idea of “The American Dream” seen through different eyes. It’s a song so relevant to the times with the current Western social, economic and racial tensions.

“Say I Won’t” featuring label-mate Andy Mineo and ‘Nuthin’ are what I’d call “Turn-up tracks”. Every rapper has one. From the sweet bass to the fast-slow alternating flows, these are the sorts of songs you could play anywhere; cruising in the car, at the gym, in the club.

All I Need Is You is the one song on the album dedicated to his one very special lady. A modern day rappers serenade, the steel pan-like sound gives it a summer feel. You could play at your barbeque.

‘Good Bad Ugly’ is Lecrae at his most vulnerable and transparent. He details his imperfections and his story of struggles with abuse, dealing with abortion and promiscuity. All through emphasising the no one is perfect, especially Christians, and no one has to be in order to be a good person. More than the emotion portrayed in the musicality, he becomes more than just a rapper but a man who we all can relate to.

‘Messengers’ featuring for KING & COUNTRY is a great final song. It rounds off the album with a send-off vibe reminding listeners about ‘The Great Commission’ and the marching vibe created through the song with the drums is very uplifting.

You can tell that a lot of thought and planning had gone into the creation of ‘Anomaly’, musically as well as lyrically. It justifies its chart performance and the Grammy, Stellar, Billboard and BET Award wins.  The lack of features and big names makes it more personal. You get more of Lecrae the man as opposed to Lecrae the rapper with his Church Clothes mixtapes. Church Clothes and its sequel served its purpose in generating discussion and Anomaly is now setting the tone for future talk.