Recently, I’ve had a tough time musically. My passion and love for hip-hop has gone through a valley of some kind. I don’t know exactly how I got here, but music hasn’t really been connecting with me. I’ve just gone from album to album, writing reviews, but I haven’t been able to really sit with anything. It’s a pedestrian feeling that I haven’t enjoyed. I have still found music that I’ve enjoyed, but it’s been missing the connection that was once there.
With that, I’ve also struggled with the ministry aspect of Christian Hip-Hop. I understand the balance, and I appreciate the ministry aspect because it’s what sets CHH apart. My struggle lies with the delivery. I felt like I was hearing the same thing delivered in the same way, time and time again. I was looking for something to rejuvenate this side of CHH for me; something fresh, new and a little different.
In steps Beautiful Eulogy and their new record Instruments of Mercy. The Humble Beast trio is back this year after a highly successful debut album in 2012. Satellite Kite was well received and critically acclaimed, and it established Braille, Odd Thomas and Courtland Urbano as one of the best groups in CHH. Their “folky” brand of hip-hop was a different sound that fans weren’t expecting, but that sound made a big impression on CHH. All of this builds a lot of expectation for their new album. I was excited for what this new record was going to bring, but I was quite ready for what this record was going to do for me.
Two Reasons Why You Have to Get This Album
1. The Experience
One of the things that always made hip-hop so great was the experience it can create. Hip-hop has the ability to take you from where you are and place you where the artist wants you to be. It accesses feelings and emotions that nothing else can. Hip-hop has been largely void of a lot of experiences recently. Full album experiences have become a rarity, and hip-hop has suffered because of it.
Instruments of Mercy is the exception to this idea. From the very first second of this record I was completely enthralled with every sound and word. The production grabs your attention, and you just sit awestruck at the beautiful sound being presented through your speakers. As you bask in the production, you eagerly await the vocals, and when they come, they mesh with the production in a way that blocks out all other thoughts. Instruments of Mercy is captivating.
Beautiful Eulogy did a great job of making music you can feel. You don’t just hear Instruments of Mercy, you feel it. This is a record that lives and breathes with the listener. The style of music that Beautiful Eulogy creates makes is experiential type of music. Instruments of Mercy is a different type of hip-hop album. It has a folky feel to it, there are a lot of unique sounds in the production and the album is arranged differently. All together, this record is unique, but beautifully unique. This is what makes the experience of Instruments of Mercy so special.
2. The Message
This has always been the most important part of Christian Hip-Hop, because without Christ, you just have the mainstream game. Beautiful Eulogy has made this an important part of what they do. Since the group’s inception, they have pushed forward nothing but a strong Christ-centered message. Their mission has been less about the music and more about what their music has stood for. They use their awkward and off-center style to find new ways to present the gospel message. This was perfected on Instruments of Mercy.
This record’s message falls in line with the title, and speaks repeatedly about mercy. Beautiful Eulogy dove deep into the topic and essentially gave the listeners a lyrical bible study. “The Size of Sin” breaks down why we need God’s mercy, and “You Can Save Me” explains how merciful He really is. It’s not just about God’s mercy, the trio makes clear the importance of our own mercy on “Blessed of the Merciful.” Mercy isn’t the only topic Beautiful Eulogy tackles. They run through several other topics on the journey through this record. As great as the message is, there was more to it than just what they say.
The method in which Beautiful Eulogy presented the wonderful gospel message was just as beautiful as their name implies. Instruments of Mercy felt like a worship record. The sound and tone of the record had a worship feel to it. The way each track was arranged brought you to a place of introspection and worship. Everything Beautiful Eulogy did felt like an offering of praise and worship to the Father. The best part of that is that they bring you with them. You will experience God in several different ways on this record. This can be a tool used to teach, affirm, reinforce and inspire the listener. It reaches the listener in a spiritual way unlike any album that has come out recently. Instruments of Mercy encompasses exactly what a Christian hip-hop album should sound like theologically.
This has been one of the tougher reviews for me to write because it’s hard to put into words how great this album really is. Instruments of Mercy stretches so far passed any of the regular modes of assessment in music. Calling it a classic doesn’t do it justice. Saying that the lyricism and production were stellar doesn’t sound good enough. This record is more than music. Instruments of Mercy reinforced the Wade-O Radio slogan because for a while I forgot. It brought back my passion for CHH. Bigger than all of that, this record fundamentally changed my life and relationship with music. All I can really say in conclusion, is that this is a record for that every individual should own.