Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
Bizzle has created quite the name for himself in Christian hip-hop. He came from out of nowhere to take the CHH world by storm in 2009 by dissing (or exposing, whichever term you prefer) one of the biggest names in hip-hop history; Jay-Z. After a few more of those records and three stellar mixtapes, he proved that he wasn’t a gimmick but a crazy talented artist. Bizzle then delivered his debut project “Tough Love and Parables.” His debut proved to be a strong album and added to his already impressive resume. With another album with Willie Moore Jr., and a mixtape with Bumps INF, Bizzle showed his range and versatility. If this isn’t enough, he also has his own label, God Over Money Records.
You would be hard pressed to find anyone that has had a start to their career that could match Bizzle’s. Over a relatively short period of time, he has become one of CHH’s most popular artists. He has carved out his own lane in the genre and he’s done a great job building a brand. All of this has lead us to the cusp of his sophomore release The Good Fight, which could possibly be Bizzle’s most important record to date. The incredible start to his career has brought some pretty lofty expectations to this record. With a great record, Bizzle can elevate himself into the same class as some of the best artists in CHH.
The One Thing That Impressed Me the Most
The Good Fight had a lot to be impressed with but there was one thing that impressed me the most, and that was the album’s consistency. This record is a bit lengthy by today’s standards, it has 21 tracks (including two bonus tracks). With longer albums, it is much harder for the artist to keep the listeners attention. With that being said, Bizzle had no problem holding his listener on this record. His strong lyricism and solid song making were consistent throughout and made for an easy listen. From the opening track Bizzle sets the bar high, and each track after that either reaches or exceeds that bar. Bizzle never let up. Each track had something valuable for the listener. Whether it be musically, intellectually or spiritually there was something for the listener in every song. This level of consistency is rare in hip-hop today and it makes The Good Fight very special.
Two Other Things That I Liked
Bizzle is an honest rapper and has no problem sharing his heart on a track. We know exactly where he stands on specific topics and even some of the things that he struggles with. On The Good Fight, he continued his honesty and even took it a step further. This was a very transparent record that had Bizzle pour his heart out on more than one occasion, and at times, vividly. This was most evident on the track “My Confession.” The title of the track leads the listener to believe he is going to share something personal, but no one could anticipate that Bizzle would share his history and struggle with pornography. He gave a vivid confession of his entire past with porn. You could here him struggle to share throughout the track, and that took the track to a whole new level. This was an honest look into his life. There was nothing glamorous about it, but it was very brave. His transparency makes The Good Fight relatable to everyone, and allows the listener to connect with him on a personal level.
The other thing I really liked about The Good Fight is something that usually goes unnoticed. It’s one of those things you don’t recognize, and if done properly, it stands out, and that is song sequence. Bizzle’s song sequence was excellent. This was a big part of why this record was such an easy listen. You could see the time and effort that Bizzle put into this record, because every track was picked and placed beautifully. A perfect example of this was on the back end of the album when Bizzle goes from “My Confession” to the soulful “Safest Place” (sung by Sevin), then to “Meet My Savior” and finished with “Not Alone.” This was important for setting the tone for that portion of the record. He creates an environment that is often experienced by a good sermon. You relate, apply, reflect, repent and then praise. Bizzle created this same experience on an album with good song sequence. This is especially important for a long album because it also helps with keeping the listener’s attention. Bizzle took this very seriously and The Good Fight benefited from him caring about the small details.
Two Things I Didn’t Like
The Good Fight is a great album. With that being said, it wasn’t a perfect album. There were a couple of small things that I didn’t like. The first is something that I have noticed from Bizzle throughout his career. He likes there to be singing on his hooks. Whether the singing comes from a feature (most notably Willie Moore Jr.) or from himself, there is usually some type of singing or melody on his hooks. Generally this isn’t a bad thing. It usually provides good contrast to a hip-hop song, but if done too frequently, the artist runs the risk of making an album sound repetitive.
The other thing that I didn’t particularly like was something that Bizzle has been criticized for in the past. That is his use of the “N” word. We haven’t seen this from Bizzle for a while, so it was a bit surprising to hear it pop up on tracks like “Think 4 a Minute” and “Options.” This has longtime been a controversial topic in CHH and has seemingly been brought back to life recently. This is a tough debate to have and I don’t think that you can always say that cursing or saying the “N” word is inappropriate on a song. Sho Baraka and Alert312 have shown that there may be a context in which it is acceptable. In that being, to expose the word or use it to prove a greater point. The problem with Bizzle’s use of the “N” word is that he didn’t accomplish either of those two objectives. I’m sure he had good reason for using it when he did, but for me, it seemed unnecessary and slightly took away from the message. It didn’t kill the message, but it was a bit distracting.
The Way: This track shows Bizzle’s growth. It is a fantastic track that was layered and developed beautifully. It is different from what we have been accustomed to from Bizzle, but it was a good different. It showed more of his versatility and range as an artist.
Mr. Range Rover: This is a very clever song. It’s a different take on an idea that is often talked about in CHH; jealousy and envy. Most people can relate to Bizz on this track, because most people have seen someone with something that they wanted, and wondered what it would be like to be that person. On top of being clever, it is a great track musically. This track will be on repeat on everyone’s iPods for a while.
Better Way Pt. 2: This was originally released separately, but I think it was a great move for Bizzle to put this track on The Good Fight. This was an incredibly inspiring and thoughtful record. This track will never get old, and will always have a place in hip-hop. As a teacher, I am very appreciative of this song and I’m very thankful that Bizzle had the bravery and compassion to make it.
Bizzle has proven time and time again that he is a great rapper. The Good Fight is more evidence of that. This is a great record on several levels. Lyrically it is on point, the production is great, and Bizzle showed off all of his talent. He told stories, had punchlines and connected his message to the listener. He has this special ability to communicate truths in a way that is simple but not condescending.
No one gets the point across like Bizzle. Everyone will know exactly what his point is by the end of each song. That ability makes this record something that everyone should have. There is something in this record for everyone. With The Good Fight, Bizzle has proved that the incredible start to his career isn’t just a start, but it will be the story of his career.
The Good Fight is set to drop Tuesday, May 7th.