Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
When you talk about some of the early Christian rappers who paved the way for what CHH is today, you have to mention K-Drama. The way the genre is visible today is in large part to the contributions that he has made to it. Off of “Air Jordan” alone, many black churches across the country started being more open to the idea of Christian rap. Even the church I grew up in started selling his CD in the bookstore when that record came out.
But many of those rappers have moved on to other ventures of life, and because of that, there are very few who have a discography as large as K-Drama. With the release of his new project The 8th, this is his 8th studio album, with a career that is over a decade long. With a lengthy career like his, what is there left to say? From what it sounds like on this album, there are a few things he desired to get off his chest.
As you listen to this album, you begin to see that this project is a sounding board for K-Drama’s heart, as he brings up his feelings on both how people have responded to him, his own views on his career/life situation, and his desire to be closer to Christ and be made in His likeness. This is his first project after a 3 year hiatus of music, so many of the topics are a retrospective commentary of real like situations he has lived.
Based on what has been presented, there have been many people who have started treating him differently as time has moved on from the glory days of “Air Jordan.” If you listen to “But That’s Okay,” he names a long list of situations that have occurred in the past few years. K-Drama doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who can hold a grudge either way, so when he talks about how he will continue to play his part, despite how some may see him in “Posted,” it’s completely believable.
Drama also shares how he is able to stay sane amongst these interesting relationship shifts on “The Heart,” featuring D-Maub. The hook alone is an anthem you can chant to yourself when dealing with difficult people leaves you frustrated:
“Man look on the outside, God look on the heart. Man look on the outside, God look on the heart.
Not on the stature, not by appearance, better tell somebody cause God look on the heart”
Speaking of the heart, K-Drama gets real about where his heart is at with God amongst the changes in the CHH scene. With things shifting, and people’s attitude towards him changing over time, his workflow and notoriety took a shift as well. And when work shifts, so does the income levels. He speaks about the time he had doubts about what he should do moving forward. “Counting Sheep” is all about the dreams he has had and the questions he asks God sometimes. Drama admits these fits of low faith don’t last for long, but that in those times, he does ask God to “Show Him the Reason” to keep believing.
The great part about it is that God does answer those kinds of questions. With the simple song “Because He Loves Me,” the truths of God’s love overshadows all doubts, fears, confusions, and more that K-Drama has come across. It shows that through the trial, the struggle to find his faith again has invigorated his drive to represent Christ loudly once again. The project wraps up with some nice songs about being broken to be rebuilt (“Stained Glass Window”), surrendering all of his life over to The Lord (“Make It, Take It”), and Drama’s desire to run his race effectively to see The Lord in eternity (“Heaven”).
K-Drama is known for chorus-chanting anthems and songs that are meant to get stuck in your system with its energy and ease-of-repetition. CHH doesn’t have much of that anymore, so I was wondering how Drama would adapt to this shift in the musical style. Well, like most seasoned artists, he knows that in order to make authentic music, you have to make music that you like yourself.
So, K-Drama doesn’t completely abandon what he does well. There are some nice anthem chants on this project, ones that are FOR the body of Christ. You’ve got “Arthur Agee”, a song that uses a reference to a person focused on the “Hoops Dreams” documentary to pinpoint his feeling as an underdog who won’t give up the fight. There is also “Make It, Take It” that’s all about God’s soverignty in this world.
But my favorite one is “Go Beyond My Limit.” It’s all about God’s ability to surpass everything in our lives, and I found myself singing that to myself as I went about my day. It’s a great song to help keep your mind on God through the ups and downs of a work week. Plus the beat itself is something you can vibe to with ease.
Production wise, K-Drama does what he has done well, but brings some music that feels fresh too. Some songs feel like they came from K-Drama, like the anthems and such, but there are a large amount that doesn’t sound like what you’d typically hear from him. That shows me that his longevity hasn’t made him stale or too nostalgic towards the early days of CHH, to make any progress in his production. And for an album with only two features (D-Maub and K-Drama’s wife Charde Jones), Drama did well in having diverse tracks throughout the album to keep the listener engaged with his content.
The 8th is an album that does a lot to update the public on what has been going on with K-Drama. Both in the production, as well as the lyrical content, we are able to see the growth in his artistry and the development in his personal life. This alone shows that Drama has been able to sway with the shift in CHH (talking a lot about self and personal struggles), without letting go of his “I preach Jesus in my bars” roots altogether.
There is no ground-breaking, life-changing alterations to K-Drama’s rap style or flow, so don’t expect a brand new version of the rapper you’ve heard for so long, but it’s not a stale version either. There is enough change to keep you interested in what he has to say, and how he is saying it.
The 8th is available on his website and all online retailers right now.
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