Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O
Whether you’ve been saved 30 years or 3 days, the call for all Christians is to shine the light of Christ in everything that we do, so that the lost world is able to see His light through our lifestyles. With his debut album, Dae-Lee formed a project around the concept of being a reflective light source of Christ. The album, called Reflect, is the first LP for Dae-Lee, as he has previously released a mixtape, an EP, and a handful of singles. As an album, how does this introduction of Dae-Lee as an artist and as a follower of Christ to those who’ve never heard of him stand up?
Reflect is defined by Merriam Webster as: “To bend or cast back; to give back a likeness or image of as a mirror does.”
We’re in a broken world, dealing with people who face the consequences of sin every where we go. Dae-Lee takes this truth into consideration during this album’s conception. What comes forward through most of the songs is the idea that we are to point everything back to Christ in every way. He sets the stage of living reflectively with the intro track “Broken Mirrors,” describing how we’re all mirrors, whether cracked or broken, that have the ability to shine back the light of Christ to others. The title track “Reflect” and “Before I leave” speak of how we are to leave a “God footprint” on this earth as our legacy, not rushing after fame or wealth with our time.
There is an angle of accepting who God made you as a reflection of Christ in the song “Ur Beautiful 2.0.” I hadn’t heard the message of “God being shown to others” when you accept that He made you beautifully and wonderfully, so that was pretty cool to see an innovative perception of a common issue. There is also a track about those who refuse to act on this mandate from the Lord in “Dusty Souls.” This song addresses the state of the hearts of those who are all talk, but no action in their lives – saying they desire to make change happen but do nothing about it – collecting dust in their soul. It can get hard to live a life of consistent reflection of Christ’s light, and Dae-Lee talks about his own struggle to keep being faithful to this with “Beautiful Struggle.”
Overall, the best example of living a life of reflection is represented in the song “Life is Worship,” which features Chris Brown of Elevation Worship. “Life is Worship” is a song, but it’s even more of a declarative statement. The second half chorus sings:
“All that you are and all that you’ve done
Is worthy of praise
For Your Holy Name, for your fame
Lord we live our lives to worship”
All that we are is made to worship the Lord, and when we accept and live this truth, we rightly reflect the light of Jesus Christ to His pleasure.
Unlike most rap albums, whether CHH or not, this album is full of live instrumentation. Thats not to say that there are NO synth elements at all, but from beginning to end, there are tracks laden with guitars playing, live drums, live bass, live piano, hand claps, live percussive elements and the like. It gave the album a live-performance element in many places. This also gave a few of the songs a laid back feel to it, but that may have been the goal anyway, as the feeling happens during the slow songs like “Breeze” & “Ur Beautiful 2.0.”
There is a large even balance between synth and live instruments, so expect to not hear the same snares/claps, kicks, 808’s and rhythms of hip hop today when you play Reflect. A perfect example is the track “Limitless Life,” featuring Canon and Urban D. I was expecting the typical CHH turn-up collab track, but I was greeted with guitars, blended live & synth drums, live piano, and live bass guitar.
As an artist, Dae-Lee desires to be himself, create uniquely, and isn’t interested in conforming to what everyone else is doing. And even in that, by staying true to himself in the creation of the music for this album, Dae-Lee reflects the vast creativity of the Lord through his obedience to how God created him. This world is diverse, everyone doesn’t likes the same thing, so being diverse is always a positive.
The only song that doesn’t directly address reflecting the focus of what you do/who you are back to God is “Breeze.” This is just an overall mellow track about taking it easy in this hectic world – something that we all need to do every once and awhile. While it creates a small dip in the energy of the album, coming from the pulsating track “Reflect,” it’s a transitional motion – as the follow up song “Ur Beautiful 2.0” is just as mellow.
Reflect is a complete album without any holes in its concept. Reflecting the light of Christ through all that we do and creating a lifestyle of worship. It is an awesome album idea and something that every Christian should be focused on daily. Its got a nice alternative vibe because of the eclectic sound composition of the tracks and doesn’t sound dated because of the sounds used.
If you enjoy music that isn’t full of traditional CHH or HH beats, you will enjoy Dae-Lee’s Reflect. With each song, there is a legitimate message of either hope in Christ, examples of Dae-Lee’s own experience in relationship with God, or directions on how to succeed in reflecting for your own life. And like the outro track, feauturing KJ Scriven, Dae-Lee’s hope is that when listening to the album, that you don’t stop reflecting the light of Christ until you’re “Lost in You” (God).