Reach Records (September 27, 2011)
Review by Aidan Severs
When concept albums are made properly, they have a clear purpose and are succinctly successful. Man Up isn’t a concept album per se; it’s the soundtrack to a campaign which also involves a short film, a small group curriculum and a series of concerts. Its aims are clear, even from its title: to promote real, biblical manliness.
The decline of males taking responsibility is a real, tangible problem and only the Bible has the answer â€“ the answer that 116 seek to bring to males across the world in the Hip Hop culture. Most of the bible’s story has something to say on manliness and its David’s advice to Solomon in 1 Kings 2 that sums up the group’s admirable purpose: “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses.”
Six different areas of manhood have been selected, so once the title track sets the scene each of the remaining seven tracks tackles an issue: Authority, Responsibility, Envy, Courage, Temptation and Repentance. Between themselves Lecrae, KB, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Sho Baraka, Pro and Andy Mineo handle the applicable advice and explore the issues of being a Biblical man. The task of encouraging and teaching men is taken in hand and, hats off to Reach Ministries, this release succeeds in what it set out to do.
“Envy” and its Doug Fresh-esque beatbox driven beat and Annie Get Your Gun sample really stands out as Tedashii, KB and Andy Mineo go head to head as they investigate the difficulties envy throws up. “Temptation” is hard-hitting and uplifting as its focus on sex is matched to an epic soundtrack.
Man Up needs to be heard by every man on this planet â€“ and that’s no exaggeration. No matter what your musical tastes the message here pertains to each male alive, whether a Christian or not. It’s time that men with positions of influence acted as true role models and that is exactly what the 116 Clique has started to do on this release â€“ may God use them for His purposes.