Soooooo, it’ s been quite some time since my last “review/post” here at Bloggerhouse. Where have I been you may ask? Simply stated, LIFE. Quite a few things have changed with me personally these last few months. First and foremost, my faith in God has arisen, which was previously non-existent, being in Iraq for two years has a way of doin’ that to you. Growing up in the Catholic church was all I knew. After become married to my wife Tara in 2004, we bounced from Church to Church, always at my request, as I was never comfortable in any of them and I shunned the Lord’s word. I’ll save you the whole “spill” but I nearly lost my marriage after 10 years and along with that, my two daughters. Simply put, would I want my Daughters, whom are now 6 & 7 years of age to grow up and marry someone like their father? The answer was a resounding “NO”.
Fast forward two months later, and while I’m still a work in progress and still striving to be the best me daily, my marriage is stronger than ever, improving daily and I’ve found scripture and incorporated it into my everyday life. The “F” bombs have ceased and basically my whole perspective on life has changed. I’ve always been the best Father, just a poor husband, in the words of my Wife (which, in retrospect, she was completely accurate). Yet, I’m even closer with my daughters and I’m becoming that “man they would want to marry”. Still, I have plenty of faults, I’m not perfect, but it was time for a change. This is where the world of Christian Hip Hop came into my life, namely the subject of today’s review, Dre Murray and the W.L.A.K. collective (Dre, Christon Gray, Alex Faith and Swoope).
You see the t-shirts everywhere, “J Dilla Changed My Life”. Nah, Dre Murray and the W.L.A.K. collective have aided the change in mine with their music and message. So why have I been so hesitant to make the transition (BTW, don’t get me wrong I still slide in a ‘lil Kendrick from time to time, but it’s just not the same) to Christian Hip Hop and always shunned it away in the past years? Honestly, I viewed the genre as..for lack of better wording..behind the times, namely in the production aspect. However, sites such as Sphere Of Hip Hop, Rapzilla & Da South have all offered me plenty of guidance as to where to seek some of the hottest acts/albums/producers, etc. Now, with the release of Dre Murray’s newest opus “Gold Rush: Maybe One Day” dropping on the 9th of July, I can honestly say that I’ve heard the best record thus far in 2013 and it’s powerful, uplifting and beautiful all in the same breath.
When Dre and Collision Records laid the ground work for “Gold Rush” with the teaser single “7913″ (which, is not featured on the album) I was immediately intrigued. Produced by Wit, whom chips in production on 8 tracks from the album and has also released a full LP and 3 EPs with Dre, all various volumes of “Hell’s Paradise” “7913″ was as ill a single I’d heard thus far in 2013. However, it was early this week when Collision released the Wit & Swoope-produced “Sutter’s Mill” (see Audio Player above), that my jaw hit the floor. Serving as the “intro” cut to “Gold Rush”, “Sutter’s Mill” was such an emotional track, lyrically and production-wise, that it almost brought tears to my eyes. Thankfully, the remainder of “Gold Rush” also follows suit.
Following “Sutter’s Mill” is the Swoope-produced and Christon Gray-assisted (for those of you whom are unfamiliar with both Swoope and Christon, I highly recommend you peep “Body Art” & Swoope’s “Wake Up” and while you’re at it just GO HERE, thank me later..) “Maybe One Day”. Yeah, and I thought “Sutter’s Mill” hit me in the heart and gave me goosebumps, which was nothing compared to “Maybe One Day”, which has only received 32 (and counting) plays in my Itunes since about..oh…11 O’Clock this morning. Another, instant classic is the Wes Pendleton-produced “Gold Rush”, over a crispy clean production, Dre is at his story-telling best while delivering a powerful message while recollecting his upbringing in the same breath.
I can’t say enough just how talented Dre is as a lyricist, I mean while Lecrae may get all the props and be the most identifiable entity in Christian Hip Hop, I’d put the whole W.L.A.K. collective, Swoope, Christon (both true dual threats), Alex Faith and Dre up against anybody, lyrically in mainstream Hip Hop. These dudes are EXTREMELY gifted and it’s safe to couple both Wes Pendleton and Wit (whom, most likely, had the best year for a producer in Christian Hip Hop in 2012) as some of the illest producers in Hip Hop.
To sum it all up, Dre Murray’s “Gold Rush: Maybe One Day” is the album that those in the Christian Hip Hop world have been anxiously awaiting since word of it’s initial release date. Yet, with releases this week from the likes of Kanye West (don’t get me started..), Mac Miller, Madlib/Quasimoto, Statik Selektah and J. Cole, there is only one album that has been ruling and will continue to blare from my office speakers/headphones/car stereo, etc. That album is “Gold Rush: Maybe One Day”. I’m even more excited/amped personally as I’ll be catching Dre performing tracks from the new LP, this Saturday in Tulsa, OK as it’s only about an hour drive for me. See below as Dre describes the experience that is, “Gold Rush: Maybe One Day”.