Clear Sight Music (March 6, 2012)
Review by LaRosa
We first heard the artist Flame eight years ago when he dropped his self titled debut album on Cross Movement Records. With four records under his belt as a CMR and a close affiliation with the Reach Records crew, Marcus Gray opted to branch out and start his own label, where he released his last album. It’s now 2012 and he’s back with his sixth album aptly titled The 6th, a title that also speaks to the content contained in this album.
So, you’re probably wondering what The 6th is all about. As already stated, first and foremost, this is Flame’s sixth studio album, so that plays a part in the name. Next, as a concept album, Flame seeks to look at the topic of anthropology (study of man) from a biblical worldview. This subject makes further sense when you factor in the fact that God made man on the sixth day of creation. That pretty much sums up the overarching theme for the album; but, outside of that being the big picture, The 6th is basically your run of the mill Christian hip-hop album that hits on all of the subjects that we have come to expect.
Listening to this album is a mixed bag. As you check out the press material for this project, you end up walking into it with certain expectations. Yet, as you press play and begin to take in the content, you can’t help but wonder if you’re listening to the same album that’s being advertised. In terms of the content, this project almost feels like a B-side release of the Our World Fallen/Redeemed series that he released on CMR; a lot of the songs seem to hit on that same line of thinking and doesn’t feel like something new or can stand as its own release. From a musical standpoint, this album is all over the place. On the one hand, this album starts off sounding like something that is trying very hard to mimic what’s popular on the radio; then, on the other hand, it switches over to songs that sound as if Flame is trying to cross over into the gospel and CCM markets, much like Da’ T.R.U.T.H. tried to do with The Big Picture. To be frank, it just didn’t work and made for a very difficult listen. There’s no flow to the album, since it consistently bounces back & forth between the two styles, and never really finds a tolerable middle ground. Lyrically, there isn’t a lot to talk about; it’s the same Flame that we’ve heard on previous albums.
Is there a silver lining to The 6th, or is it all bad? If there’s anything positive to say about this album, it’s that Flame did try to step out of his comfort zone and try to do something new. While the album has a healthy dose of Midwest styled beats & music, you can see that he’s trying to reach out to a new market, which is commendable. For some this can be seen as good, but others will probably wish that he had just stuck with what works for him. In terms of the production, it’s respectable and on par with what we have come to expect; it just doesn’t blow you away. If there’s a standout track at all on this album, it would definitely have to be “Trap Money” which enlists the help of Thi’sl and Young Noah.
The 6th is a hit & miss album. Some people are going to love it, others are going to hate it; that’s just the hard truth. As a whole, Flame didn’t really break any new ground musically or lyrically. If you’re looking for a blend of what’s popular on the radio and in CCM, then this album will be right up your alley. But, if you’re looking for that classic Flame that we’ve all come to love from the CMR days, you may want to pass on this release because it’s just not here.