Flame “The 6th” (album review)

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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.

Purchase: Shop for Flame CDs or Flame downloads

13 COMMENTS

  1. Jenny R… thanks for your feedback on our review. We respectfully disagree but nevertheless are glad you dig the new album. We fully support what Flame is doing but this record missed the mark a bit for us. God bless.

  2. I COMPLETELY UTTERLY DISAGREE with this review! I have been a Flame fan since 2004 when he dropped his first album with CMR. This album is a must have! I think we DEFINITELY get the “classic” Flame on this record! I’m actually quite shocked at this review when “Great Deception” “Devil’s Bread” “The 6th Day” “Caught in the Lights” “Scripture Alone” and “Man” contradict everything you are saying. “He Did It Again” was a new gospel type song for him and he pulled it off! Who knows gospel music better than gospel radio? They are playing it right now as we speak!

    TRUST ME!!–YOU HAVE TO GET THIS ALBUM!! You will NOT be disappointed!! Judge for yourself and listen to the clips on iTunes.

  3. I’m going to have to agree with Jenny on this one. I have all of his albums too and I think this one competes with all of them. That boy straight brought the heat on “The 6th!” I found his songs to be a perfect blend of what we all liked from his old stuff and a modern flair of what is out now. I respect your opinion, but this album deserves WAY more than 4.5 stars. Honestly, I just don’t hear what you do and I don’t think the rest of the public does either. This review is definitely an outlier. If I were you I would read the reviews on iTunes. The people on there like current hiphop music. There are some reviews on there from non-believers who have never heard of him and respect his work.

  4. Thanks for the comments. I will say this, though. I am a fan of Flame, just like you guys are; I own all of his music & have been following him since before he was officially signed to CMR. He is also a friend who I’ve had opportunity to build with on several occasions. So, there is definitely no hate going on.

    That being said, I still stand by my review. I listened to this album several times & don’t think that this was anywhere near his best effort.

    lj.

  5. I agree completely with the article. I was disappointed in this album for a couple of reasons; first, all the tracks sound the same, have pretty much the same tempo and the same instrumentation, I guess because he used the same producer for most of the album(I think artists should use different producers to make the album sound different. I also didnt like that he used V.Rose for all the singing hooks(I know he’s trying to promote her, but again, mix it up!!)The album sounds like one long song to me in short. Very disappointed in my man Flame.

  6. Shocked by this review, Flame really killed it on this album, been a fun of him since CMR and i would say this is best drop ever. I respect your view but i agree Jenny R. Wow! nothing like this album out on the market.

  7. @http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/userprofile_reviewssinglepost.php?review_id=19798&user_id=64259
    There is no question as to why this album debuted at #1 on iTunes Hip-Hop and #8 on iTunes Top Albums overall across all genres! I have been a FLAME fan since he first hit the scene in 2004 with his debut album. Each of his albums hit me in a different way and there are different things that I like about each of them. When it comes to “The 6th,” it seems like he has combined all of his strengths and saturated this album with them! The album shows the reality of him being a seasoned rapper who has been in the game for awhile. He knew exactly what he was doing which resulted in a top-notch performance. Honestly, I love every song on this album. I find myself getting ready to skip to my favorite songs, but can’t! There aren’t any to skip! You can tell the songs were thought through when it came down to the production, content, lyrics, concepts, and flow. Some of my favorite songs are “Caught in the Lights,” “Try Me,” “Running,” “Let Go,” “Great Deception,” “Devil’s Bread,” and “He Did it Again.” I DEFINITELY recommend this album to everyone! You will NOT be disappointed! He really brought his A-game!

  8. Umm… i have listened to the album casually. Havent paid deep attention to the lyrics. I just took in the general musical feel of it or catchiness or whatever…only two songs struck me or grabbed my attention as being crazy…”Trap Money” feat Thisl and Young Noah and “He did it again” feat AD3

    I’ll keep listening to it again and maybe the other jams will grow onme but I certainly dont have the excitement that I had when I first listend to captured…anyways…Flame is our boy, I’ll support Him any day any time…Praise God for Him

  9. “Christ Alone” is the best track! Too much V Rose throughout the set though. Did not meet my expectations. I like Flame, but not much new on this one. “Christ Alone” is the best track!

  10. Glad to see peoples honest opinion. Based on the review. I’ma keep my money in my pockets on this one. Like the album art though. The beat on trap money sounds too familiar if you kno what im saying

  11. As someone with an undergraduate degree in Bible and Theology and who is currently in Seminary (just like Flame), I think he is the best Christian rapper since T-bone, and that is saying a lot. His message is always theologically sound with depth and meaning. I have many friends in the music business, including a friend who is a music producer for Universal Records, and I have been around all kinds of music my entire life. Flame has dope beats and a great sound, and this album was his best yet overall (anyone with a subwoofer is more likely to agree with that. LOL). Sure sometimes his rhymes are mediocre, but as someone who personally has an IQ of 160 (genius starts at 140) I am grateful to find an artist who brings such sophistication and scholarship to the studio, and all for the name of Jesus. Not very many rappers, or musicians in general, are willing to go to graduate school (Seminary is Christian graduate school, and Flame is in Seminary right now) to learn the truth about what the Scriptures say, and I greatly respect him for that. I especially liked his song on this album about the reliability of the Bible, as I am big into Christian apologetics. Lastly, I am proud to rep Flame as my favorite rapper on the note that he is a Reformed theologian, something that many people probably do not realize about him. It is not easy to be Reformed in public in this day and age. Trust me, I am too.

  12. I totally agree with the review. I was pretty let down by this album. currently out of all the rap on my MP3 player…it’s the one I listen to the least.

    For starters…Flame’s flow is just…well…not all that interesting. He seems to be talking more than rapping. The beats were also pretty tame and uninspired. I think what I dislike so much about the album is that it has more of a CCM vibe to it rather than rap or hip hop. His rhymes and flows are just too medicore to be appreciated as a good rap album.

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