Xist Music (2011)
Review by LaRosa
Battling sin is something that gets talked about a lot in the Christian hip-hop scene. There are even certain labels that make a habit of creating anthems to pump up believers about waging war on their sin nature. But, what happens when one of our heralded artists falls victim to the very thing they were preaching so hard against? This is what happened to Da’ T.R.U.TH.; and, after a period away from public ministry, he is ready to return to the mic to tell his story with his latest release The Whole Truth.
When you encounter an album like The Whole Truth, it’s kind of hard to know what to expect. Is this the kind of album that is going to pick up right where the artist left off in his prior releases, or will we be listening to a new artist altogether, or some sort of hybrid? What about the content? Is it going to be heavy in harping on sin and its evils, or will it be an album that looks toward the grace of God and the forgiveness that he offers? There are a lot of questions that one can raise when listening to an album like this, all of which are perfectly valid. What you get with this album is basically all of the above, which makes for a very interesting listen.
The thing that stands out the most about this album is that it sounds like Da’ T.R.U.T.H. has finally come into his own and found a sound that works for him. While his sounds hasn’t done a complete overhaul, it no longer sounds like he’s trying to mimic Jay-Z; he sounds like who he is. Stylistically, imagine a throwback between the rawness of his first LP Moment of Truth mixed with a healthy dose of maturity & his previous release The Big Picture where he did quite a bit of experimenting with his sound. The opening track “Lights” is a solid picture of this; the lyrics are raw, heartfelt & in your face. Now, take an entire album of lyrics from a repentant believer and place them on a musical backdrop that is geared toward plucking at your heart’s strings, and you really walk away with a project that pulls at your emotions & faith.
If there is anything negative to say about this album, the discussion starts and ends with the content. While Da’ T.R.U.T.H.’s delivery is on point throughout the entirety of the album, the subject matter that he covers is borderline repetitive. In many respects, The Whole Truth is the story of a believer’s lessons learned after falling into sin & the painful process of restoration; but, it feels like the story is told many times over throughout the course of the album. At several points in the album you get a broad overview of the big picture of what happened, interspersed with pans & zooms of the finer details of what God did in the restoration process & how good God is. On a first listen, the full album is pleasant, but quickly becomes overbearing with subsequent listens.
As a whole, Da’ T.R.U.T.H. gives us a breath of fresh air with The Whole Truth. For a while it’s felt like he’s been experimenting with his music and sound; but, this album feels totally like this is who he is and the style that he’s found for himself. With this project, Emanuel Lambert has learned from his failings and is now letting his heart speak clearly & loudly through his music, and doing it with a passion that makes for great music. Even with its shortcomings, if you want to hear a story of redemption & an artist giving you nothing but the hard truth, then this album is it.
For fans of: Xist Music, Cross Movement, Ambassador