The “it” factor is something that has been long discussed in the sports and entertainment industries. This is one of those things that are typically hard to explain, but you know it when you see it. It’s like watching a college football game. Most fans can point out the players that will be pros, because they play like pros. It’s evident in movies and television as well. Most moviegoers can tell a great actor when they see one but cant really explain why they think they’re great. I’ve come to understand the “it” factor to be the idea that there is something that someone has, that separates them from other individuals in their field.
Hip-hop is no different. The “it” factor shows itself to be true in this genre of music time and time again. When an emcee has that “it” factor, it jumps through the speakers and grabs the listener. You could attach this trait to a few different artists within Christian hip-hop, but the first artist that comes to mind is Eshon Burgundy.
Eshon has a long and incredible resume. He’s been one of the best lyricists in CHH for a long time, but it hasn’t been until recently that Eshon has been receiving widespread recognition. Last year his album, Blood Rushing to My Head, got rave reviews and is widely considered a classic. For Eshon fans, this was the album that they were waiting for because it stretched past his core audience and reached a group of people that may not have been overly familiar with him. Coming off the heels of that record, Eshon made a monumental move by signing with Humble Beast Records.
Now with more people listening than ever, Eshon is back with his new mixtape For God’s Sake.
With the success I touched on earlier, the expectations for Eshon (and more specifically this record) were really high. Eshon is considered one of the elites in CHH, so the expectation is to get elite work from him every time he steps to a mic. Expectations are a very tricky thing for an artist. They can bury an artist or elevate them to higher levels. On For God’s Sake, Eshon surpassed any and every expectation that could be placed on him. He handled these expectations like the veteran that he is, and For God’s Sake will not disappoint anyone.
Doing What He Does Best
Eshon is one of the most consistent emcees in all of CHH. You know that when Eshon is rapping that he is going to bring it. For God’s Sake is just more proof of that. Eshon brought his best to every track on this album and it showed. From the opening track you could hear that Eshon picked up right where he left off with his last project, and he was totally in the zone.
Eshon is known as a lyrical giant in CHH and for good reason. Not many artists can rap like Eshon. From the start it felt like a lyrical assault from Eshon. It was just bar after bar after bar of fire. Eshon told stories, shared personal testimonies, gave solid punchlines and anything else that you could want from an emcee.
With this being a mixtape, Eshon could showcase his rapping ability even more, because there doesn’t have to be as much focus on song structure on a mixtape. There were several songs on For God’s Sake where Eshon just rapped without a hook. It was so impressive to hear him spit for continuous minutes. That isn’t easy to do because listeners can tune out quickly, but that problem doesn’t happen on this record. Eshon always holds your attention and even after continuous minutes of rapping, you’re still left wanting more.
But it’s a Mixtape
I alluded earlier to one of the many differences between a mixtape and an album. Artists are usually freer to create and try new things on mixtapes, because there doesn’t have to be a set structure or concept to the overall project. Even with that factor, Eshon still tied a little concept to For God’s Sake, and the theme of the songs tied into the overall theme. Also, the tone of each song tied into the overall tone of the album. These are small things that don’t need to be done on a mixtape, but Eshon took the time to add to this area and the project benefited well from it.
The production on mixtapes is usually a toss up as well. An artist can go any way with it and it doesn’t really matter cause mixtapes can just be a collection of songs. Eshon took an interesting path with his production by “jacking for beats.” This can be a tough way to go for an artist because some fans don’t like it. I didn’t recognize every beat on the record to be someone else’s, so if you don’t like when artists do that, you can still find value in this record. Like it or not, musically, Eshon made really good choices with the production. Everything flowed together great and better than I was anticipating.
Even though For God’s Sake is a mixtape, Eshon put the care and time into it as if it were an album. And it plays like an album as well. You’re getting Eshon’s best work, and a showcase of great talent.
For God’s Sake is a great project. Everything about it is stellar. It’s an enjoyable, easy listen with lyrical depth and layers. Eshon’s individual performance was top notch. That “it” factor I was speaking about earlier showed itself time and time again. You could just hear it when he rapped. Eshon is a truly phenomenal emcee that makes truly phenomenal music, and For God’s Sake is just another piece of art for fans to enjoy and admire.