Grace and Peace Records (September 6, 2013)
Review by LaRosa Johnson
Buy this album: SphereofhiphopStore.com
It’s always a pleasure when new record labels come onto the scene, especially when they come onto the scene in a big way. One of the newest to make some noise is a label called Grace and Peace Records, headed up by Otis Kopp. Since life is all about first impressions, G&P Records sets out to make a good first impression with their debut release Glimpses of Grace.
Glimpses of Grace is a compilation album that seeks to showcase the label’s mission statement, which is to produce Christ-centered music laced with Biblically sound content by Spirit-filled believers. Now, when I heard that this was a compilation album, I’ll admit that I already had a negative taste in my mouth; in recent years compilations have been more about recycling old songs from a myriad of artists than doing anything new & fresh. So, I thought I was justified in my feelings when I saw that one of the first tracks on this project was “Grace and Peace” by Timothy Brindle, a single that he released a couple of years ago. Yet, perusing the remainder of the track list proved that this was primarily a compilation of original material from some very recognizable names in the scene including: Sivion, Die-Rek, Mr. J. Medeiros, Evangel, k-Drama, Braille, and Stephen the Levite to name a few.
Now, another problem I usually have with compilation albums is that they are a hodgepodge of material and there is no cohesion whatsoever, especially when there’s no deejay involved. Well, as I listened to Glimpses of Grace, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was actually a concept that was driving this album. On each and every track, just as the album title suggests, you’re given a glimpse of the grace that is to be found in Jesus Christ. This proved to be quite impressive given the wide range of artists that are found on this record. Sure, you expect an emcee like Believin’ Stephen or Evangel to have no problem crafting a song that exposits the topic of grace; but, you don’t expect that same level of depth from an artist like an Eshon Burgundy or Mr. J. But, that’s exactly what happens here. Each emcee stays true to themselves and their style & brand of music while dropping solid bangers that touch on the topic of grace in some way.
Since this is a compilation, there’s no sense in trying to break the album down like I would a solo album. Instead, it’s safe to say that each emcee is clearly at their best. That being said, there are still some tracks that stand out above the rest. Both Sivion (Not Worth It) and Die-Rek (Code Red) make rhyming look so easy, as they seem to be on cruise control with both of their tracks; in a word they’re smooth. Of course Evangel stands out as the one emcee that takes you straight to the Bible on “Snapshots,” which serves as the track that holds this entire compilation together. Sistah Dee gets mention for being the lone femcee on album and for flipping the concept of grace on its head with “Mournings Beautiful.” Finally, Braille closes out the album with the lead single “Changed Hearts,” which is what hopefully will be the end result for the listener.
Compilations are always a mixed bag, but this is one of the few that is done right. First, it brings in a wide variety of emcees which keeps the project fresh from start to finish. Second, it has a theme and sticks to it. Third, it’s primarily original material. And, finally, it bangs. Glimpses of Grace is a solid listen all around and there’s enough on here to keep any fan of Christian hip-hop happy. This is definitely a great way to announce yourself as a label and I look forward to seeing what Grace and Peace Records does next.