Independent (May 31, 2011)
Review by LaRosa
After a while, you start to think that you’ve figured out an artist and know what to expect when they drop their latest offering. This is particularly true in the Christian hip-hop scene with those crews who are focused on making “gospel music.” It’s safe to say that the Reach Records camp falls into that category, but that’s not to say that these guys can’t bring something new to the table and still wow the listener. Up to bat this time is Tedashii’s third solo album titled Blacklight. The question with this album: does it blend in with previous Reach releases or does it stand out?
While Blacklight doesn’t stray too far away from the themes common to all Reach Records releases (such as the gospel, hope in Christ, and living a heavenly focused life), Tedashii attempts to chart some new territory with this release. The theme of this album surrounds the concept of a black light & its usage. There are lots of things that are hidden underneath the surface & that aren’t visible to the naked eye; and, a black light is used to both expose contaminants & prove that something is the genuine article. With this album Tesashii carries this theme through as he exposes those things that many people try to hide & cover up, including things in his own life. As it stands as a concept album, Blacklight does a fairly good job of carrying out the theme.
I asked the question if this album would stand out or blend in. The answer is that it does both. Let’s first deal with where this album stands out. Having personally thought that his sophomore release was very weak & predictable, I was really hoping for Tedashii to bring the heat with this album, and he did just that. From the opening track, you can tell that this heavy hitting Samoan rapping machine was coming with a fervor that was going to carry this album from start to finish. Left behind are the soft & uninspired rhymes that plagued his last album, as Blacklight is full of hard rhymes, which is where Tedashii is at his best. Songs like “Rock a Bye Baby” and “He Lives” are perfect examples of this. What is probably most memorable about this album is that Tedashii stepped out of his comfort zone and really tried to experiment with his sound on this album, and I must say that it really worked. The opening track “Riot” immediately gives you the feel that T.Dot is going in a new direction, and then he totally sets it off with the dark “Can’t Get With You” that sends chills down your spine. Combine all of that with some of the cleanest production & mixing that you’ll hear and some great guest spots, and this album really stands out.
With all of the good that Blacklight has going for it, it falls short exactly where I expected it to. While Tedashii is experimenting with his delivery and sound, there are still a lot of recycled themes and subjects on this album; but, that’s what you come to expect from a Reach Records release. Even though “Riot” is a hot track, it is eerily similar to “Make War” from Identity Crisis and “No More” from Kingdom People, a track talking about battling the flesh & sin. It makes for a great anthem, but the topic is a staple on every Reach release. The same can be said for a track like “Need It Daily” that is your typical song about the gospel. That being said, that’s all that’s really there to complain about.
All in all, Tedashii really impresses with Blacklight. It may be your typical Reach Records type of album, but it’s at the same time still something altogether different. There is very little that disappoints with this album and the highlights are stellar. If Tedashii and Reach can keep putting out records like this, then they’ll really have what it takes to take their message to just about anyone they want to. It may have taken him three albums to get there, but I think Tedashii has finally found his niche with Blacklight.
For fans of: Reach Records, Lecrae, Trip Lee
Purchase CD – download – iTunes