Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
My mom has always told me “that it’s not what you say, but how you say it.” This timeless cliché is ever present in the music that we listen to. The songs that we hold closest to us are forever in our memory partly because of how the artist delivered the lyrics. We connect to a song because we believe the person. Their passion, compassion, understanding, etc. drive home the message and reach the listener on a deeper level. Delivery and passion makes the connection between listeners and artists.
Few artists bring passion to their music like Corey Paul. This is the most notable and memorable trait Corey brings to the table. Since coming on to the scene, Corey Paul has attacked every song with an intensity that cannot be ignored. His passion and intensity makes him more relatable. You can feel everything that Corey Paul raps about. Even if you don’t directly relate to the topic, you can still feel it. Corey has ridden this seemingly natural ability to a very promising career.
In a short period of time, Corey has made himself one of the brightest up and coming stars in all of Christian Hip-Hop. His debut record Grace Love Mercy was a strong project. That, coupled with some incredible features, led Corey to the surprising and even more exciting news that he was the newest member of Collision Records. On December 18th Corey released his debut album for Collision entitled Today Tomorrow Forever. With Collision at his back, this is Corey’s moment all of CHH will be checking to see what he is capable of with one of the best and most respected labels in the genre.
Corey Paul brought his trademark passion and delivery on Today Tomorrow Forever. “Top Rope” featuring Derek Minor is everything fans of Corey could ask for. Heavy bass and a hard trap beat mixed with his smooth delivery and Derek Minor. It gives a shot of energy to the album. “Tear It Up” is another classic Corey Paul track. This is the track where you roll the windows down and let it bang. The passion, energy, and charisma just leak off of these tracks. Just when you think that the energy can’t get any higher on this record, “Die at the Top” just hits you in the mouth. The track is dominated by a relatively simply horn melody which lays the perfect backdrop for Corey to go in on. He goes hard on this track with his captivating flow. Corey Paul is at home on tracks like these and doesn’t disappoint if you like his energy and passion.
One of the many things that makes Corey Paul special is that his passion stretches past the high-energy tracks. Some high-energy artists can translate their passion to slower paced and more thoughtful tracks. Corey has no problem with that at all. On the much slower paced title track, that features Jordan Jones and Swoope, Corey reigns in his energy but delivers a beautifully passionate performance. He delivers another beautifully thoughtful performance on “Real Live Forever,” when he raps about the struggles of being from where he’s from. You can feel his pain and compassion when he raps and it brings out the compassion in you. This is the true beauty of Today Tomorrow Forever.
Another beautiful aspect of the record is the production. At this point, Collision has become a brand of music with a particular sound that you can identify. Today Tomorrow Forever doesn’t have a heavy Collision feel to it. For the most part, it feels like a Corey Paul record. It’s hard with a lot of bass in parts. Even when it slows down, the drums are very present and still has a trap feel to it. This is evident on “Come Back” featuring J. Paul. It is a slower track with a softer melody but still maintains the gritty feeling that accompanies most Corey Paul records. “Tear It Up” is more of what you would expect from Corey. It is a trap record to its core and will have speakers vibrating all across the south for months to come.
The album isn’t just all trap and bass. He really stretched himself on Today Tomorrow Forever. “Live to See Forever” featuring Jordan Jones is a much softer track. The keys accompany Jordan Jones voice beautifully. It is a different sounding track for Corey, but it is the perfect ending for the record. “Real Live Forever” is also a softer sounding track. It changes the mood and feel of the record in a great way. The Collision influence is felt on the intro “100 in the Summer.” This track is masterfully layered. It builds throughout the track and it’s with this fantastic crescendo. This sets the tone perfectly for the entire record. Overall, the production on this record is very good.
The cherry on top of this record is the lyricism and message. Hidden behind all of the energy, passion, and bass is a truly gifted lyricist and storyteller. Corey is capable of stringing together some jaw dropping bars. His delivery is flawless throughout Today Tomorrow Forever. That is one area where he has grown as an artist. He switched up his delivery several times throughout the record. That skill has rounded him out as a lyricist. He delivers a strong message on this album. It is one of hope and love.
This record has a bit of an edge to it. Corey is honest about the struggle of growing up in the hood. He tells stories that are raw and genuine. It can be a bit hard for people not familiar with that struggle to relate to, but Corey is also very up front about where his hope comes from. God is the main theme of this record. Corey makes it very clear that Jesus is the cure to all of life’s ills. “Live to See Forever” is the perfect example of this. You can worship to this song. It creates a mood where you are focusing only on God and his greatness and mercy.
This record has every element to it. It’s a solid record from start to finish. Fans of Corey Paul’s prior work will enjoy this record greatly. It also has elements to it that will draw in new fans. This is a record that is a good listen for CHH fans and a solid record for Corey Paul’s first record with Collision Records.