Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
One of the struggles in the Christian hip hop scene is the ability to be original, without biting from mainstream hip hop artists. When I think of D-Maub, he is one of the most unique and original rappers out there. His delivery has the ability to both entertain and keep the listener guessing.
When I heard that D-Maub had a new album coming out, I was both excited and nervous. I was excited because he is such a talented artist, but I was nervous because his albums have not fared too well for me. He is a beast when he is featured on different songs, but his albums have not carried that same consistency. I don’t want to label him as that guy that does great on everything but his own projects.
D-Maub’s latest album The Missing Peace had some good moments. I want to break down a few areas on this project.
If you’ve heard D-Maub spit, you know that his delivery is unmatched. I listen to a lot of hip hop and I can honestly say I do not know another artist that puts together verses like his specific style. He didn’t shy away from his unique flow on this project at all. Songs like “I’m Me”, “Walk It Off”, and “Full Throttle” showcased his decorative flow.
He manages to make a style off of lyrical missteps. For instance, he’ll often stutter or repeat his rhyming word over and over to emphasize his point. That’s not going to score cool points with most rappers, but with him, it’s become a part of the flow that we all love. D-Maub also adds to his flow by doing a trick, where he will take an awkward pause between finishing his lines. When I first heard this, I thought my iPod skipped (I didn’t even know mp3’s skipped). Then, I quickly realized he was doing this to add another layer to his custom-tailored flow.
D-Maub did not disappoint in the area of lyricism on The Missing Peace.
This is the area that I was nervous about. Despite D-Maub’s flow, I feel that he rarely raps over beats that bang. I always look for that song that makes you go, “This is a hit!” right away. I do not feel that any of the songs gave me that feeling on this project. Songs like “Walk It Off” & “My Girl” were the only tracks that almost gave me that feeling. When they started, my expectations for them were big. But unfortunately they did not meet my expectations. They were good, just not great.
On the flip side, I did think that some of his beats were unique and fit his creative style. “G Code” (feat. Canton Jones) had a beat that reminded me of a ‘spy type’ of movie. I liked that because the song was about sticking to God’s will and being on mission. On “Hip Hop Student,” the beat was simple and had a sample in it. It just felt classic. The beat helped create the setting of someone writing about hip hop in a classroom. Maybe I took that too far, but the beat complimented the content.
Altogether, the music did not fully grab me. I think there were some good moments, but there was not much replay value based on beats alone.
It would only be fitting for the guy that often jumps on artists’ tracks, to have some good features on his album. The Missing Peace featured notable artists like Canton Jones, ZG, B.Reith, The Ambassador, and Willie Moore Jr. (aka PDub). Each of these features did well. I did not feel that they stole the show, but I also did not feel that they delivered stellar performances. I had high expectations from all of them.
One track that was special was “Who Is God” featuring Jin, Phanatik, Ruslan, K-Drama, Jahaziel, Theory Hazit, Eric Cross, and Braille. This song was amazing because each artist tackled each verse to answer the question, “Who is God?” The list of features would make you think that the song would be 10 minutes long, but each artist knocked out their four to eight bars with tact. I thoroughly enjoyed this song because it reminded me of a cypher. People who are from different camps in the CHH scene, all united to boast in our King.
Another feature that caught my ear was on “Charged Up” featuring Todd of Z4L. I was not the biggest fan of the song, but when he started rapping, he caught all of my attention. If his intention was to get people to notice him, he succeeded. He skillfully skated over the beat and ate each bar. I will definitely be looking for more from him.
The Missing Peace was a creative title and a nice play on words. However, I do not feel that it translated well into the album. Based on the title, I figured he’d have songs talking about Jesus (Peace) being missing in different areas of life. That’s not what the listener gets. They get songs that point to Jesus, but the songs were not crafted in a way that correlated with the album title. I was looking for an interlude or at least a song that would explicitly get the point across, but it didn’t. Jesus was not vague throughout this album; the concept of the Peace that is missing was. The song “Who is God” did a great job answering the question, but I did not feel as if it was D-Maub’s attempt to uncover the missing “Peace.”
The title for this album did not cohesively gel with the song selection and flow of the project.
Unfortunately, it felt like something was missing out on The Missing Peace. I think my expectations for D-Maub are high because he is a lyrical monster. The lack of high quality beats is probably what stole the cake for me. It has been a while since we have gotten a project from him, so I was expecting that he’d pick some of the best music to give to his fans. It did not feel that way. The production was great and he did not lack lyrically. You would think that makes for a good album, but it did not. I was looking for the track that everyone would be talking about, and I did not find it. D-Maub is lyrically one of my favorite artists and I am waiting for him to deliver an album that gives him the credit that he deserves.