Reviewed by Garrett Richie
Following up A Beautiful Raw, (MC) Till’s latest release is A Beautiful Break: a combination of his continued examination of the Western Church and a self-exploration that works to eliminate his personal struggle with self-condemning thoughts. With numerous solo projects under his belt, along with various collaboration albums, including Kings of Tragedy with Wonder Brown and Black Guy Meets White Man with now CMR Recording Artist k-Drama, it comes as sort of a surprise that Till would still have such a struggle with his self-confidence. The man has been bringing it since the late 90’s and is still relevant in the underground Christian Rap arena, so the self-doubt doesn’t really seem to fit the picture. With A Beautiful Break, Till provides a look into these past doubts and how he has successfully defeated them as he moves forward with his ministry.
A self-proclaimed backpack rapper, MC (Till) does a solid job keeping this album moving with a bouncy collection of instrumentals that allows the project to move along smoothly with the spoken transitional interludes that link the project together. As an album that sticks to the script of one focused idea, it’s important that it transitions in a way that doesn’t generate listener fatigue, and Till does a good job of avoiding this pitfall. He starts the album with his journey from self-doubt to freedom from self-condemning thoughts, using spoken streams-of-consciousness to convey his own struggles and convictions in a way that is thorough enough to understand yet also brief enough to keep the listener interested. Upon ending his journey with this freedom at “Freedom Song”, he transitions to his analysis of the Western Church, which is also carried along by solid backpacker production and spoken interludes to explain his motives. Essentially, MC (Till) took a concept that had a lot of potential to flop as an album and turned it into a solid project that conveys his personal convictions very clearly.
As mentioned earlier, MC (Till)’s well-practiced backpacker boom bap rings true throughout the project, enabling his confrontation of self-doubt and examination of the Western Church to mesh into one well-organized concept. Had this album been tackled by an unpracticed emcee, the finished product would’ve most certainly lacked the level of professional quality that MC (Till) brought to the table. From solid beats to the clean flow that he pours over them, Till’s final product is very well put together and meant to be absorbed as one piece, not as a collection of individual tracks.
Despite the album’s neat overall fit-and-finish, there are still a few pitfalls that A Beautiful Break couldn’t seem to avoid. Although the spoken transitions and interludes added a level of sincerity to the album that helped to clarify Till’s motives on the project, they couldn’t help but come across as a little (struggling to find the word) corny? Also, as many albums that flow as one concurrent project, A Beautiful Break lacks any standout hits that would bring the album a large amount of publicity among fans of the genre. However, as Till believes on the album, focusing on the negatives is counterproductive, which makes this portion of the review seem a little superfluous.
From self-doubt to a freeing self-confidence, MC (Till)’s A Beautiful Break is a very relatable album that not only chronicles the escape from self-condemning thoughts, but also analyzes the importance of having a solid relationship with Christ outside of the physical structure of a Church. Although many may misinterpret Till’s message on the utility of the Church, listening carefully to the words of “the bridge” will help the listener understand where he is coming from. If not a collection of new hits, A Beautiful Break is still an interesting listen worth lending an ear to.
Purchase CD – download – iTunes
For fans of: Underground hip-hop