Reach Records (April 10, 2012)
Review by LaRosa
Reach Records has been busy lately. Lecrae has been running hard making the most of his Rehab album, most recently releasing a deluxe version. Tedashii has put out some new tunes. Even newcomers PRo & KB have come out with mixtapes and PRo with his first official Reach album. Needless to say, the crew has been busy. Now no longer the young buck in the crew, it’s Trip Lee’s turn to take center stage with his fourth studio album titled The Good Life.
So, what is The Good Life all about? Isn’t it obvious? It’s the American dream: a big house, a nice car, a wife, 2.5 kids, and a dog/cat. It’s having a job making six or seven figures, being famous, and not having need of anything. That’s the good life, right? Well, that’s what the world tells us the good life is. With this album, Trip Lee seeks to alter your perspective on what the good life is really all about, showing you that the true good life is found in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Exploring what the world promote as the things we should want and contrasting it with the truth of Scripture and what it really means to live The Good Life.
For that to be the overall theme of the album, Trip Lee takes a very interesting and diverse approach in addressing the subject. Starting off with a very cinematic opening in “New Dreams,” you get the truth that the world has lied to us about what our ambitions should be, and chasing after such things are keeping us from the life that God desires for us to have. This is followed by the singles “Robot” and “I’m Good” which declare freedom from living the status quo. From there, the album starts to take some different twists & turns in terms of content, covering subjects such as: our love for & addiction to technology (iLove), abortion (Beautiful Life), battling sin (Fallin’), and living for false dreams (Fantasy), to name a few. The nice thing in listening to these songs is that you can see the maturity of Trip Lee as a believer and emcee, so much so that this almost doesn’t feel like your run of the mill Reach Records release. If there are songs that really stand out on this project, two would have to be “War” and “Know Me.” “War” is just a funky rock rap track with a wicked hook that makes you want to just hit repeat. On top of that, Trip Lee probably comes hardest on this track; exuding a fervor & passion that you rarely see from him. “Know Me” is a throwback to the old school and a welcome addition to Trip’s arsenal. Here he brings the Bible itself to the forefront, letting it speak from the first person.
For as good as Trip Lee is on The Good Life, this album is hard to listen to from start to finish after the first time through. On subsequent listens by time you get to the halfway point, you’re ready to turn the album off. Part of this results from Trip front loading the album with his stronger & more upbeat songs, the ones that are sure to keep the listener engaged. What’s more, right at the halfway point (track #8) is a song that totally feels out of place on this project. The song is “One Sixteen,” your typical 1-1-Six Clique anthem. While not a bad song in & of itself, it just doesn’t fit with The Good Life’s theme; it would have been much better served as a bonus song at the end of the album. This song is part of what makes it hard to listen to the album’s second half, which is quite strong content wise, but more contemplative musically. Unfortunately, another low point for this album would have to be one of the lead singles, “Robot.” Again, it’s your typical Reach Records type of song wrapped in a new package, but just feels like a really weak effort and borderline annoying on the hook.
While there are some pieces that are hit & miss, The Good Life is a good album, no pun intended. Trip Lee shows the kind of maturity that you look for from artists, while showing that he’s not afraid to mix it up and try new sounds. Sure, you get your handful of obligatory Reach tracks, The Good Life does a good job of standing out on its own in terms of content, instead of simply blending in. With a better balance in mixing the song’s styles, this album could have been a lot stronger, such as putting some of the songs on the backend in the front & middle, to even things out. Trip Lee definitely did his thing & shows that he’s living The Good Life in Christ.
Purchase: Shop for Trip Lee and Reach Records CDs