Album Review: 007 and Gifted da Flamethrowa – The City Never Sleeps
I was raised in Florida, so I’m a southern guy through and through. I love living in the South and that southern lifestyle, and a big part of growing up in the south is music, and more specifically for me, it is southern hip-hop music. As much as I love lyricism and the artistry of hip-hop, there is a special place in my heart for southern hip-hop. The trunk rattling bass, smooth flows and “crunk” beats are a part of me. That is what started my love for hip-hop. I just fell in love with the sound, how I connected to it and how it made me feel.
When I moved over to the Christian side of things I had a hard time finding a lot of that southern sound that I fell in love with. CHH isn’t as regional as the secular game. A lot of times I didn’t even know where some artists were from until I saw their Facebook music page. This has changed a little over time, and the South is having a bigger impact on CHH with each passing year; especially in Texas.
That leads us to 007 and Gifted da Flamethrowa. These two secular turned Christian rappers have come together for their newest project, The City Never Sleeps. Both of these Texas MC’s (Gifted is originally from New Orleans, but currently lives in Houston) have a big following in the South, and they have experienced a fair amount of success up to this point. All of that has brought some anticipation around their collaborative effort. Even with that, these two talented MC’s are bound to create a project that fans will love.
A Very Southern Album
When you put two southern MC’s together for a collaborative project, you’re going to get a southern project. The City Never Sleeps is a very southern project. There has always been some stereotypes (both good and bad) surrounding southern hip-hop, and this record fits a lot of those stereotypes (both good and bad). The production was great. It sets the tone for the listener and carries the record as most southern records do. Also with most southern records, the lyricism wasn’t great and lacked a clear direction to follow throughout the record. Stereotypes are always dangerous because no one likes to be put in a box, but this was a southern record. I respected the record because 007 and Gifted know their lane and created a record that stayed in that lane almost completely. A good southern record is still a good record, and The City Never Sleeps is a good record.
One thing that always matters on Christian Hip-Hop album is the content, and 007 and Gifted definitely delivered in that area. The content on The City Never Sleeps was great. The best part about it was that it was balanced. 007 and Gifted balanced the theological raps beautifully with the “street” rhymes. This balance makes it hard to classify this record simply based on its content. Neither aspect outshined the other and that makes this record special.
The only small drawback in the content area doesn’t necessarily lie with the content but in the delivery of the content. There were times on The City Never Sleeps where I had to look past disappointing lyricism or bad song making so I can focus on the content. This was a struggle more towards the end of the record but nevertheless the struggle was there. It’s like anything else, if I have a great message but the presentation isn’t great, then that takes away from the message. Even with that small drawback the content of the record was still inspirational, encouraging and great for any listener to take in.
What I Was Left With
Admittedly I wasn’t very familiar with 007 or Gifted da Flamethrowa coming into this record; this was actually my first experience with both artists. Since this was my first experience with both artists I didn’t have many expectations, but I was left with some things that I won’t soon forget.
The first was the duo’s chemistry. This is big for me. Any time artists come together (either as a group or duo) chemistry is vital to their success. 007 and Gifted showed great chemistry throughout The City Never Sleeps. The transitions between the two were seamless and they never lost the subject of a song. Another thing that I just couldn’t get out of my head was 007’s flow. I love his flow and style. It’s so smooth and commanding, that I was hanging on every word that came out of his mouth. Part of this is because I have never heard him before, but either way I loved his flow and became an instant fan after hearing him rap.
Overall I thought The City Never Sleeps was a good record. It was an enjoyable listen and an easy listen. Its message was fantastic and will motivate and inspire the listener. 007 and Gifted had solid performances and will gain a bigger following from this record. They stay true to themselves and made a good southern record. The problem is that this record probably won’t travel too far out of the south. If you are a fan of southern hip-hop, then you will like and enjoy this record. But if southern hip-hop isn’t your thing, then you probably won’t like The City Never Sleeps. Either way, 007 and Gifted da Flamethrowa put together a solid record.