Review by LaRosa
If you’ve been around the Christian hip-hop scene for any amount of time, one thing that you’ll notice is that a significant portion of it is dedicated to trying to reach the lost. Sure, you’ll get some artists that try to cater to both the Christian & the lost; but, there is very little out there that is made strictly for believers. Christcentric is one of the few groups that fits into this mold; they make their music for the edification & uplifting of the Body, in a style that they call “didactic music.”
In their latest offering, Christcentric is attempting to tackle a first in our scene. They are taking the popular form of expository preaching and putting it to music, giving the listener a lyrical hip-hop exposition of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. With that as their premise, the name of their project is aptly & simply titled The Ephesians Project. An interesting concept, the crew takes a group of Scriptures and gives you a lyrical summary of what those verses are talking about.
Christcentric took on a pretty substantial undertaking with The Ephesians Project, but they execute it exquisitely. In terms of a concept album, they carry out their object flawlessly. Every track sticks to the task of expositing a passage from Ephesians, which means that there are no wasted tracks or filler material to speak of. That is always a joy to have when listening to an album. Now, one might be fearful that an album like this could become dry or bland, but Christcentric took steps to make sure that didn’t happen. Instead of listening to Evangel or other Christcentric members for the entirety of the album, they brought in “The Citizens of Zion,” their likeminded brothers to share in the heavy lifting. This really helped bring like to the album on tracks like “By Grace Through Faith” where the Brindle brothers (Believin’ Stephen & Timothy Brindle) go back & forth talking about Ephesians 2:1-10. Others like Zae da Blacksmith, B. Morr & his wife Jewel, Jovan Mackenzy, and B-Doe to name a few, all bring their talents to this album, which aides in keeping the album moving from track to track.
The Ephesians Project is a very straightforward album. While this isn’t exactly a bad thing, you’re not going to get a lot that is going to make you turn your head or blow you away. While some are looking for innovation in hip-hop, this album isn’t that. Christcentric remains within the mold that works for them: melodic east coast sounds that provide a picturesque backdrop for their weighty lyrical sermons. Although the album starts off a bit awkward with Evangel singing “Greetings… Ephesians…” on the hook, he quickly jumps into some pretty solid bars that make up for where the chorus lacks. In many ways, the opening track is a good summary for the album as a whole: there are some sketchy spots that leave you scratching your head, but there is more than enough to make up for where the album may lack. If there’s anything that feels considerably out of place on this album, it’s the last track “Fight for the Children,” which is just thrown on at the end; I get why they put it on there, but it just doesn’t fit and takes away from what you should walk away with after listening to this album.
As a whole, this is either going to be an album that you love or hate. For those that are looking to walk away with some biblical & spiritual edification while listening to some quality hip-hop, then this album will be for you. But, if you’re not someone who likes preaching in their music, then you may want to shy away from this album. For what this album attempts to do, I have to say that they did a very good job, and it probably stands as one of their best efforts. Whoever listens to this album will be hard pressed to not learn something about the book of Ephesians.