Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O
Ruslan has had a pretty stellar career up to this point. He’s behind creating two of the most lyrically gifted and talented groups CHH has ever seen – theBREAX and Dream Junkies. Dream Junkies is relatively new, but they have a critically acclaimed record under their belt. And theBREAX has had a huge impact on the genre.
Over the past few years, Ruslan has even ventured out on his own and released his first solo album Carry On, and is the founder of the Kings Dream Entertainment label. Now after two years since that project, Ruslan is set to drop Do for One, Friday, April 3rd.
Those familiar with Ruslan know that the production value of anything he does is always incredible. Do For One is no different. This record is a shining example of how meticulous Ruslan is. He gives each track the attention it needs, to bring out every sound that will make the listener hear what Ruslan wants them to hear. This meticulous attention not only creates a great sound, it also separates Do For One from most other records in Christian Hip-Hop.
Outside of the quality of the sound being phenomenal, the beats themselves are great. The whole record will have you nodding your head, as it provides a great backdrop. The listener can’t just tune out the record, but they will rather be engaged by it. They’re a few records that don’t simply provide a backdrop but really step through and shine on their own. “Time”, “Ambition”, “The game don’t wait” and “Packing Light” all take the listening experience to the next level. Each beat uses traditional sounds in a non-traditional way and some unique sounds to provide individuality to the tracks. They also give the record some playback value.
In every which way possible the production on Do For One is nothing short of outstanding. It’s clear, crisp and pleasing on the ear. It doesn’t have one specific sound to pinpoint to, but it does have a sound that will be enjoyable for any hip-hop fan.
This record is very unique in its concept. Not the actual story, but in the delivery of the story, is what was unique. First, there was a narrator. This isn’t new for a hip-hop record but it is rather unique. Having someone lay out the story and what is going on throughout the story helps to drive home the concept. The narrator makes the story easier to follow, which creates a connection between the listener and storyteller.
The second thing was relatively small but made a huge impact – the tone. The tone of the record moved along with the story. You can hear the sound (and feel) of the record evolve with the story. This is also true in Ruslan’s approach. His sound and tone changes with the story, as it all comes together in a very interesting way. This is a small detail that can be overlooked but provides life for the concept and helps make the story real.
Even though the delivery of the story may be a bit unique, the story itself isn’t overly unique. Ruslan takes us through the story of a man who wants to be rapper. Do For One is this rapper’s journey and what exactly “do for one” means to him. It is an interesting story that is carried with amazing production and Ruslan’s talent. The story isn’t steeped in theological principles, but in true Ruslan fashion, it has a beautiful biblical theme that is carried throughout the entire album. It’s a strong concept delivered very well, and all that makes for a good listen.
As talented as Ruslan is (and has proven to be) Do For One isn’t his best work. It is a good record with great production, that provides for an easy listen, but the album didn’t feel complete. WHY The features helped to create a memorable experience, as the Dream Junkies lended their talents in a spectacular way. As did Ray Alexis and Mia Hunt. These features helped to create some good moments and even give CHH a proper introduction into some new talent.
Even though I believe Ruslan’s best work is still in front of him, I think, Do For Me is a good record that CHH fans will enjoy. Long standing fans of theBREAX and Ruslan will particularly enjoy this record, as will fans of good conceptual albums.
Ruslan’s Do For One available for purchase on iTunes