Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
Dru Bex recently dropped his latest contribution to Christian Hip-Hop titled The Good Album. Following his Imperfect Messenger EP, and more recent single “Running Man”, The Good Album debuts as the title suggests – a good album. It has all the makings of a well-made album, but it may be accused of lacking depth from those looking for a theologically heavy message. Nonetheless, Dru does offer hope in his music and attributes it to Christ.
The theme of the album is clearly expressed in its title, as well as the track listing. Each song is interested in dialoguing with the ideal, or good life, and the pseudo-good life offered by the world. There is even an attempt to explore how temptation and suffering is included and redeemed in the good life. However, upon the conclusion of the album it seems that while the pseudo-good life has been debunked, the good life itself is still wanting.
In regards to production, the sound quality is clean. For the most part, the album has an upbeat feel that you could vibe to while getting your cardio in. Tracks like “Good Feeling” and “Good Cypher” can definitely help you push through a super-set. Moreover, the features that Dru rallied together in the cypher each earned their keep on the track. It’s worth mentioning that the features on the entire album are wisely chosen, and they all rise the stock of the album with their contributions.
The first track following the comic introduction poses the question that the album is interested in: what is the good life? Dru grapples with the dichotomy of having money and all the things that the world esteems, yet still being depressed and lacking true friendships. Thinking of his old self, Dru cautions those who simply go with the flow of the culture: “I see you riding the wave/but all waves crash.” Along the same lines, Dru drops a dope bar in “Good Feeling” asserting that “even Sway don’t got ‘em,” – the answers to life that is. This, can only be found in the gospel which is essentially why Dru has a good feeling. It also may be because Jered Sanders represented so well on his verse.
The next standout on the album is definitely the “Good Cypher, which lived up to its name. Ty Brasel, Yohan, Promise, Kay Sade, Knu Origen & Shope bring their A game, and it is all smothered over an eerily lit abstraction from the previous track. Youth groups everywhere will want this in their rotation. Let us not go without highlighting Promise’s ode to CHH, referencing a number of major labels in his verse. Kuddos to him!
The later songs on the album are a little more solemn, but still possess an air of positivity. “Good Mourning” is nothing short of beautiful. It is definitely an interlude that could have been an entire track. Plus it beautifully sets the stage for Dru’s “Good News Freestyle.” Although, I’m not sure what his intentions were for adding the snippet at the beginning of the track about being or not being a Christians rapper. It seemed counter-intuitive to the interlude preceding it and the overall message of the track itself, as it is being said to be the Good News.
Finally, the album wraps up with a banger featuring Sean C. Johnson, S.O. and Beleaf who are as excellent as you expect them to be. Dru wraps up his message of the “Good Life” in his verse stating that while others may have the world, the real Good Life is not found in this world. The hope that he is looking at is heaven where “we have riches forever / we got streets of gold.” Then, Sean C. Johnson sums it up as well on the chorus singing, “Searching to find / What money can’t buy / This peace of mind / I can’t deny / Finally found forever.” Lastly, the album concludes with Dru’s hit single, “Running Man” as a nice little bonus track.
Overall, The Good Album is a fair project. Looking back at tracks like “Goin’ Up”’ on Dru’s Imperfect Messenger project, one can see Dru’s range and ability to switch up his flow. While The Good Album still showcases Dru’s unmistakable full-tone voice, it seems to be a bit more conservative in its rhyme schemes. The content of the album is good, but some parts feel unfinished. According to his previous body of work, in addition to this album, one can definitely see potential in Dru as a Hip-Hop artist. Only time can tell the impact that it’ll have on the genre and its listeners. I’m interested to see where Dru goes from here now that he has one full-fledge album under his belt.