Soul Deep Records (March 16, 2010)
Reviewed by SSRC
Rawsrvnt (pronounced “raw servant”) has been turning heads in the Christian industry for several years. He is recognized as the key pioneer of the Hip Hop Worship movement that has started to make its way, not only across North America, but worldwide. Rawsrvnt won the 2006 Holy Hip Hop artist of the year title and has shared stages with Wyclef, Toby Mac, Third Day and KJ52. Over his career he has released 5 albums all on Soul Deep Records. That is a pretty nice looking resume and by the looks of it he has no plans of slowing down.
His new album “No Ordinary Love” has Rawsrvnt moving in the same direction as his previous efforts with an array of songs and styles that will keep the listener wondering what is next. You can tell Rawsrvnt has paid his dues on stages worldwide as he has crafted music that will move a large crowd. His sound is big and is made to move not only your body but your heart. We don’t have much to compare Rawsrvnt to because the industry is not saturated with Hip Hop Worship artists. He is one of the first that is doing it consistently so this really is something new that you need to hear to fully understand.
The album starts off with a cover of the Sade classic “No Ordinary Love”. I say cover very loosely as he spices up the beat and inserts his own lyrics to make the song his own. The chorus is sung by Lisa McClendon and her smooth voice makes this song a winner. Next up is a track that will have youth groups worldwide going nuts. The song title alone makes me cringe “Jesus Jam” and the song is just that. Rawsrvnt uses some auto-tune on the chorus and it’s your typical rap song that is aimed to get you on the dance floor with some positive lyrics. Again, Rawsrvnt can craft some catchy tunes that will keep the party moving.
Even when Rawsrvnt goes in a little harder he keeps his worshipful spirit as the main focus. You can hear his heart for the Lord in each line. That is very admirable and gives this album a unique purpose and sets itself apart from your typical Hip Hop album. Even his guests join him in worshiping God and they sound really good doing it. Sean Slaughter drops an outstanding verse on “Bow Down”.
No Ordinary Love is really a mixed bag as Rawsrvnt is all over the map in styles and sound. The variety is a plus, because he is able to pull off the different styles. He is not your premier lyricist and he doesn’t claim to be but you will find most of what he says pretty straight forward. If you are a Hip Hop head you might find that a little hard to get over. If you let yourself get past that you will appreciate what Rawsrvnt has to offer. Rawsrvnt makes catchy music but that is also at the cost of being original or trying something new. He does put a Hip Hop twist on some worship music which is new but his Hip Hop jams have a lot of elements from today’s top 40. I believe this is also his aim but if you are looking for something different then you might want to pass over this album.
Rawsrvnt has crafted the most accessible album of his career. If this album doesn’t make it’s way onto Christian radio stations nationwide I don’t know what is wrong. He is a talented song writer and producer and has crafted hits in every style you can think of. I hope that this album will make it’s way to churches everywhere because it’s something that would work with parents and kids alike. Rawsrvnt is the perfect connection point for people who might not know much about Hip Hop and Worship music as he has crafted a poppy yet soulful album that can cross many boundaries.
For fans of: Third Day, KJ-52, Toby Mac, J.R.