One of the things I love about teaching is the nostalgia. Talking to and being around 7th graders all day is interesting on so many different levels. Everyday brings new entertainment. It brings me back to when I was their age, and I can look at these situations with a new prospective, which is always fun. It’s rare for hip-hop and teaching to have many similarities but in this instance it does. Hip-hop is full of nostalgia. A song or album can bring you back to a specific time or experience in life. Hip-hop can almost be like a time capsule, because the nostalgia you get from it is so real. It’s something I’ve grown to appreciate about hip-hop.
MC Jin himself is a form of nostalgia for me and plenty other of fans. Just hearing his voice on a track reminds me of all the times I would sit on the school bus blasting his mixtapes in my headphones, defending his first record (because I really liked it), and watching his battles in awe. Each new record from Jin brings a bit of this nostalgia. Going into his new record Hypocrite, I was expecting some more of that same nostalgia, but that’s not what I received. I got more than I bargained for.
A Different Type of Nostalgia
Christian hip-hop has been through a lot over the past several years. It’s changed and grown in ways most never thought possible. It has been incredible to watch and experience, but the fast growth has its own negatives. The artistry in CHH has come to the forefront and has really reached an all-new high. Artists are trying to become what their name entails; artists. With that we’ve seen a decline in the more theological emcee’s (outside of Lamp Mode, Flame and a few others).
This is where I found my nostalgia. Hypocrite took me back to when I first encountered CHH. I was brought back to when I first listened to Holy Culture (by Cross Movement) or The Thesis (by The Ambassador). This record was less about the artistry and even less about the straight theology, and more about experiencing God. This is not a knock off the progression of CHH, it’s more about what MC Jin was able to accomplish. He matched his artistry with his passion for God in a way that allows the listener to experience God with him. It was beautiful and really made this record special.
How He Did It
This is one of the areas that is always communicated and noticeable. In sports your eyes and attention are drawn to the athlete that is working the hardest or plays with the most heart. Music is no different. An artist that is truly passionate about his craft or his subject the listener can feel that. Passion can be a big part of the connection made between the artist and the listener. This has become almost a calling card for MC Jin. His passion for Jesus jumps out of the speakers. That alone connects his music with the listener. It also connects the listener to God and makes Hypocrite a special listening experience.
Passion is great, but if it’s void of substance then it’s virtually useless. This is where Jin takes Hypocrite to the next level. His content was on point. He had a strong and consistent message throughout the record. This is also an area where you can hear some significant growth from Jin. His personal growth is noticeable throughout, simply in the range of his content. He dove into hypocrisy, lust, temptation, and fear (and much more), with a depth that was refreshing. His passion is the draw but his content is the meat that the listener will continually come back for. This is a record that has the ability to really challenge and encourage the listener the way spiritual truths should. The content alone is worth listening to Hypocrite.
Jin’s music has always been his strong point, so the expectations are always high for him. His background and success in the secular game have only raised the expectations for him in CHH. No matter how high the expectations, MC Jin delivers with strong music. The production is top notch and provides for a great backdrop. His lyricism was as sharp as it usually is. Throw in some transparency and consistency and you have a great EP.
“Hypocrite” – A tough and rugged beat matched with Jin’s smooth flow makes this track standout. This track might have the most playback value because of the mixture of depth and musicality.
“Fear Factor” – This song is all message. It’s inspiring and encouraging and I can’t forget about the beautifully sung hook.
“Broken” – This track might be the most experiential track on the whole record. I felt connect with God throughout the entire track.
Overall, MC Jin has put together a great project. It has pretty much everything a CHH fan could ask for. With the year coming to an end and so many great projects coming out throughout the year, MC Jin leaves fans with the perfect record to end the year. Hypocrite is a record that shows how far CHH has come but also reminds everyone exactly why we do and love this music so much.