Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
In every walk of life there seems to be a certain group of people who go unappreciated or undervalued. I’m sure if you think about it you can find someone at your school or job whose good work goes unnoticed. This is seemingly even more present (probably because it’s done on a public scale) in the entertainment industry.
Whether it is sports, music, TV or movies there is someone who consistently does great work that goes unappreciated. An example that comes to my mind is Karl Malone and John Stockton. This point guard and power forward duo that played for the Utah Jazz in the 90’s is one of the best tandems in sports history. They hold records, and (individually) sit atop statistical lists but very often get overlooked when talking about historical great NBA players.
What does any of this have to do with R-Swift and his new album? Well, I believe that R-Swift is overlooked and undervalued in Christian Hip-Hop. Swift has consistently put out stellar work. His resume speaks for itself and his talent is undeniable, but for some reason Swift continually goes unappreciated. It’s time for that to end. Swift recently released his 5th album, Apply Pressure, and it’s another stellar record to add to his already phenomenal resume.
2 Things that make R-Swift special that he did on Apply Pressure
Content: There isn’t anything that R-Swift won’t talk about or address. I’ve always noticed this and respected it. Apply Pressure is no different. Swift covered a variety of topics including but not limited to politics, abortion and his own personal battles. Swift tackles each topic with the care and elegance that each deserves. That allows the listener to connect with the topic and with how Swift is addressing the topic. That is a special talent that most artists don’t have. Amongst other things, Apply Pressure will definitely get you to think.
Presence: I have never heard an artist that has the presence behind the mic quite like R-Swift. This is what drew me to Swift in the first place. When Swift steps behind the mic people listen. R-Swift has the ability to captivate a listener and maintain their attention just by simply rapping. This is very present on Apply Pressure. You see it the most on tracks like “Raindrops” featuring Social Club and “Looking For Trouble” featuring Sho Baraka and Eddie Nigma. Swift shines amongst other stars. It is also present on “Dear Mr. President” when you just sit, listen and literally hang on every word that Swift spits. There are tons of things that make Swift special but this God given talent is what really separates him from other MC’s.
What made Apply Pressure Special
I think it’s pretty clear that I think R-Swift is a special MC, but I also think that Apply Pressure is a special record. I can’t imagine how tough it was for Swift to put this record out. It had been four years since his last full-length project and on it was, by far and away, his most popular song to date (“Awesome God”). The pressure and anticipation surrounding this record was unreal. Not to mention that the whole landscape of CHH is completely different now, as compared to then. None of that seemed to matter because Swift knocked this one out of the ballpark.
This record has it all. It will please long time Swift fans and bring in a whole new breed of fans. It’s got your lyrical boombap joints, your political thoughtful tracks and some speaker busting bangers. Swift ties these all together beautifully and the transitions between these songs were seamless. This whole record flowed together beautifully.
The whole record came together very nice, but there were also some very memorable moments that will have your hitting the rewind button constantly. The title track “Apply Pressure” will leave you awestruck. The aforementioned “Raindrops” featuring Social Club, bangs real hard. “Love Story” featuring Butta P and JR is a smooth head nodder, and “April 19th” tugs at the heartstrings. Apply Pressure was able to accomplish two difficult goals at once; Create an album that has top to bottom play back value and create a complete album.
One Small Critique
This is truly a small critique and honestly it’s a selfish one. 10 tracks (not including the one interlude) are not enough. Speaking for R-Swift fans and fans on CHH as a whole, we want more music. Now to be fair Swift accomplished a whole lot on this record and there is no guarantee that more songs would have made the record better. I wanted more tracks because I wanted to hear Swift more. He was in a zone on this record and I just felt it ended to soon. When the last track faded out I wanted more, so maybe Swift accomplished another goal without me even noticing.
Did R-Swift Apply Pressure?
Simple answer, yes. This record should apply pressure on other artists. It should raise the level of artistry among the entire genre. But that is what great artists do. Much like sports, the greats put pressure on everyone else by simply doing what they do (which is be great).
Past just artistry Swift applied pressure to fans and the CHH community. Swift pushed us to think more and challenge ourselves. He pushed us to be knowledgeable about the world around us and challenge it. R-Swift turned up the pressure on everybody with this one record, so the title was definitely fitting. But past that Swift created a truly great record and showed why he is one of the best MC’s Christian Hip-Hop has to offer.