In this realm of Christian hip-hop, it feels like the amount of those taking part grows exponentially every year. It’s basically impossible to know who everyone is and what they’re doing in their local community, so I don’t feel bad when I say I’ve never heard of the brother Proxy before. But one thing that I like to do is give chances to those I’ve never heard of, as often as I humanly can. So going into this album called Magnificent, I removed any preconceptions I may have had, and just allowed the music to speak for itself – Especially when I saw that he had features from the likes of Braille and Propaganda. I found myself pleasantly surprised by my reaction to what I heard. So let me start off with an overall topic.
The theme of Magnificent being “magnificence” is pretty much consistent through the entire album. Basically every track is laced with lines of inspiration to anyone who is listening. As much rap is aimed at those in the streets doing wrong, Proxy comes from the redeemed perspective, describing how he himself is now changed from that lifestyle and lives magnificent.
This is proxy’s go-to style through this album as it is a well known and an effective way of evangelizing. There were a few songs that I felt weren’t pertinent to the album at all, but for the most part its clear what Proxy is talking about from the song titles alone. The magnificent angle is geared towards promoting the right mindset towards practical everyday living on this earth.
I loved the fact that a LOT of these tracks were live instruments. As a musician, a well mixed live track is exciting to me in this CHH world of ever changing native instrument packages. A couple of my favorite composed songs are “The promise”, “Life changed Me”, and “Magnificent,” but personally, I’d love to have the instrumentals for most of this album.
Also, Proxy’s voice sat well in all of the tracks. The mixing/mastering of this album is on point. Most first offerings of artists aren’t always the best audibly, and if you knew how difficult it can be to engineer live sound, you would understand why. So its refreshing for me to hear a newer artist do that and doesn’t have muffled vocals or overly reverbed tracks.
With the tone of Proxy’s voice, the majority of the album has music that seems to fit his personality and tonality. The songs are mellow but constant, and you can definitely nod your head to the grooves. He has some West Coast, some Philly drag, and some soulful singing as well. That type of diversity is one way to keep me interested enough to listen to another track.
I’ve got to keep it real. I had a hard time understanding where Proxy was coming from for a good portion of the album. It’s like when you’ve got someone telling you a story, and you can tell it has a great ending, and you’re rooting for them to get it out the way that they’ve got it in their head, but they are taking such a way to get to the end, that it didn’t hit you as much as you anticipated. I was waiting to hear the recapitulation of many of the song topics, but the verses didn’t always give me that.
I just felt like there were so many different things rapped about within two bars of each other that it felt like I was reading 10 different books at the same time in some verses. I could tell that he has passion for what he was talking about, I could tell that he had a past, I could tell he is a new man, but I didn’t have the big picture until “Life Changed Me.” THAT was the first song that felt complete to me because I felt it was the first song to completely paint a picture for me then elaborate on it thoroughly.
There were a few upbeat tracks on the album that seemed out of place because they felt like they were added just for the sake of being upbeat fun/party tracks. I don’t feel as if they really talk about anything and I thought they interrupted the musical continuity – I personally would’ve left them out of the album.
Part of Proxy’s bio reads “his greatest sense of accomplishment is found in connecting with people so deeply, they feel empowered to embrace their full potential.” This album is not “gospel heavy,” doesn’t speak of the 5 Solas in every track, or have a high JPV count (Jesus per verse), but Proxy, no doubt, is an inspirational artist and this album is inspirational. I thoroughly believe any new Christian that is beginning to turn their life around, music included, could be replacing their usual mainstream nonsense with something uplifting like this album.
There are no offensive lyrics or topics and it is easy to listen to musically. I do believe this brother is a passionate minister, and with all I’ve said above, I don’t think this is a bad first step into this realm. As an artist, you are there to paint the listener a picture of what you’re talking about and how it relates to them, so I encourage Proxy to keep pressing lyrically to bring everything in his songs more completely full circle, so there is no room for confusion from anyone at any angle. As a musician alone, I’m interested to hear what else will be coming down the line from Proxy, but as God continues to have his way with him, I’m interested to see what will be his lyrical next level.