Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
Mr. Del is an artist that is no stranger to making music. He left the popular rap group, Three 6 Mafia in 2000 and has been making music for the Lord since. He has made some fun songs like “U Can Do It 2” and “Oh My God.” It has been about two years since his latest release, “Tennman,” in 2010 and now he’s back.
On June 18, 2013 he released his new project entitled Faith Walka. This caught me by surprise because there was little talk about the album. He did not do a lot of marketing to get the word out. I may be the only one, but it felt like this album may have snuck up on people. I would think that after being out of the game for so long, there would have been a bigger push to get fans excited about the music.
Lets dive in and check out what this album has to offer. In this review, I want to touch on the good, the bad, and the future.
Mr. Del can be a fun artist. His songs may be simple, but they get the point across and can get a crowd moving. On Faith Walka, songs like “Sunglasses,” “Faith Bang,” and “Faith Work” were examples of songs that have an easy message to get to the listeners. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of the simple truths in the faith and be encouraged. I felt these songs were able to do that.
Also, he has a song called “I Believe” where he shares some of his testimony. He was honest about moments where he had no choice but to believe and trust in God. He lets the listener in on pivotal moments when he left Three 6 Mafia and had to say no to past sins trying to pull him back. I think a lot of people can relate to this song because whenever we make a decision to trust God, there is an immense amount of opposition that can come at us. This song encourages the believer to stand firm.
Mr. Del likes to make songs that fit the ‘dirty south’ sound with upbeat tempos. However, I appreciated songs like “Grateful,” “Forgot To Forgive,” and “Die 4 U” that were more slow and intimate. I feel like the listener gets some of the best and sincere lyrics from him on his slower songs. In each of the songs mentioned, Mr. Del had moments where he was praising for specific things, confessing for not forgiving, or just talking about where Jesus met him in different moments in life.
The messages in his music come from a sincere heart and you can feel it when you hear it.
As I just mentioned, Mr. Del communicates from a sincere place. However, not everyone listens to music to hear the heart of the rapper, if the quality is not that good.
That is how I felt with Faith Walka. His heart was there, but the music was not. A lot of the songs simply did not sound current. It felt as if his music was stuck in the era when songs like “White Tee” and “Bet You Can’t Do It Like Me” were hot. It was apparent because that is the first thing I heard. I remember thinking, “this music sounds old.” I do not think that every artist has to keep up with the “trends” in mainstream hip-hop, but it is helpful to keep a fresh sound. I was probably most surprised because he has not put out music in so long. It seems that it would’ve sounded different.
I also felt that some of the songs did not fit. “Easter Fresh” was a perfect example. He starts out the song saying,
“New shoes (check)/ New suit (check)/ Got my ten percent and another check, yes! (Blessed).”
The song goes on to talk about how it is now about Easter, but celebrating the resurrection of Christ. I am not against that at all; I just felt that it did not fit. Easter has passed and it may have fit more around that time. Also, the focus on material things as a representative of being “blessed” didn’t sit well with me. I am not against material blessings at all. I just felt the song focused more on being “Easter fresh” than the resurrection of Christ. That’s where I could not hang.
The simplicity of the music and lyrics on this album made it hard to listen to. I think that there could have been more effort poured into this project.
Mr. Del has been rapping for a long time and his latest albums have not caused the most buzz. Buzz is not the goal, but it is tough to impact many if people do not listen to the music. From the sound of the album, it seems that Mr. Del may be losing some passion. There may be other ways that he can help the hip hop community and reignite the passion he has to see Christian hip hop advance. I am not sure what that could look like, but I do feel that it can hurt the community when a veteran begins making music that sounds like they are not as excited about the content. Mr. Del has a lot under his belt that many artists can benefit from. He serves as a pastor full time and that can easily take a lot of time from any artist. However, maybe he will do things in the future to help build up the next generation of rappers with the skills that he has acquired in music and ministry.
This album was tough to listen to. I stated it felt that it was dated. I also have a tough time listening to veterans in the game when it seems that they are at the end of their run. Like any sports fan, it hurts to watch your favorite player consistently get bad stats. You’d rather them go out on top. I respect the changes Mr. Del has made to bless the Christian hip hop community, but I did not like this album too much.
There were encouraging moments and great messages that you can pull from the songs, however, you have to dig and pry them out. I do not think the average consumer will be willing to do that.
I was also disappointed in the features. It seemed that they did not bring the tracks to life. It was as if the music clouded the effect of the features. There were some good verses, but the overall songs were not that interesting.
You can check out the album here.