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Album Review: GS – That Real Talk 2

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O 

Life experiences have a unique way of shaping us and pointing us to our calling. GS is an artist that grew up choosing life on the street in efforts to help his mother, struggling to take care of five kids. Life may have been hard, but when his life was transformed by Jesus, he was equipped with the wisdom to go back into the areas that affected him most.

Earlier in November, GS released That Real Talk 2, a follow up for That Real Talk, released in November of 2012. If this project is anything like the previous project, it will be flooded with a gritty sound and message that are straight forward. Like the album title, GS has no problem keeping it real on a track.

In this album review, we will look at what GS accomplished with this project.

Sound

GS flooded this project with bass-heavy trap beats that can easily turn up a crowd at a concert. Each track will make you want to pull out your good headphones or turn up the sub in your car so you can hear the beat bang. For those looking for some relief from the trap sound, you’ll have to wait until the last two tracks. The entire project has a consistent sound and that can be a good or a bad thing. It is good for those who love to turn up and have heavy hitting beats on each track. It is bad for those who like to hear a little more musical diversity on an album.

It seems that the demographic he is targeting is very clear. The sound and feel of the music on this project relates closely to the sound that may be found in the areas that GS grew up around. It makes sense that his music would have the trap sound. However, it can cause limits that he may not want when it comes to others hearing his music. Overall, it seems that GS was very intentional with the overall sound of this project, and the people that he wants to reach with this music will be attracted to it.

Highlight Track: “Power”

Message

The message on this album is very clear. It seems that GS is on a mission to debunk the lies that mainstream media feeds our culture and communities. Each song seems to call out certain mindsets that are prevalent in urban communities. Mindsets such as needing to make a lot of money to feel like the man. Or boasting in false life events to make yourself seem better than others. GS does a great job exposing the “street life” for the death that it brings. He has an entire song entitled “Nah You Not,” where he just tears down the lies that so many people say to make their status seem like they are better than others.

Another theme that is prevalent on this project is how he references God as the leader of his squad. It is almost as if he takes the concepts of being in a gang and relates it to his squad of believers. In doing this, he makes sure people know that people who follow Jesus walk with victory. We can have a confidence about us because we understand the one who is in us. Along with the gritty feel of this album, the way he presents Christ’s superiority will have a great effect on those that listen to the music.

Highlight Track: “Nah You Not”

Flaws

GS does a great job sonically on this project. He comes hard on all of the tracks and does not hold back the truth. You can tell that he wants to relate to people trapped in the mindset that the mainstream hip hop culture is trapped in. Wanting to relate is never a bad thing. It can end up working against you when relating sounds a little like copying.

That is one flaw that can take away from the listener’s experience on That Real Talk 2. Certain songs sounded a lot like what is on the radio right now. There is nothing wrong with sounding like what’s “hot” (Reach and other prominent CHH labels do this as well), but sometimes it can take away from the originality factor.

For example, on “Why you Love Me,” the auto tune singing and slow bass heavy beat felt real Future-ish. He also had other songs where he used the flow that has been coined the “Versace” flow (although others used a similar style prior to that song). Regardless of its origin, when you hear it, it’s easy to take away from the artist’s originality.

Highlight Track: “Make Me”

Conclusion

This is an album that can have a great impact on those that pick it up. Despite the consistent upbeat-trap sound, there weren’t many single-ready type of tracks that would pull in new listeners. GS’ current fans will love this project and people that get introduced to this project may enjoy it as well. As stated above, this project seems to have a clear target audience and it has the potential to wake up a lot of people stuck in the culture of running the streets.

The production on this project was great and the features (Bizzle, Mouthpi3ce, Sean Johnson and more) did a great job. Everyone that he featured had a sound that complimented the heart and message behind the track. Both Mouthpi3ce and Bizzle have a track record for speaking to the streets. Listeners who enjoy their music will enjoy this project as well.

GS’ ‘That Real Talk 2’ is now available for purchase on iTunes.

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Branden Murphy has served as a Campus Missionary. He loves Christian hip hop and uses it within his ministry to reach and converse with many different students. He plans to use his heart for music and ministry to write album reviews on Wadeoradio.com. Branden is also married with two children. You can follow Branden on Twitter: @Bmurph633.

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