Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O
Sean Slaughter is by no means a newcomer to the CHH genre. With albums that date back as far as 2001, Sean has roots that date back to some of the earlier times of Christian hip-hop. His new project, Prototype 2, is a follow up to his last record Prototype, released in 2010. Since his last release, Slaughter has been hosting a radio show, (What in the Ham Sandwich?!). So what exactly can we expect from Sean Slaughter in this new album? Lets start from the beginning.
The word Prototype is defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary as: an original model. Sean Slaughter has established himself as a unique person from the beginning of his career. His sound hasn’t been the same as everyone else, and as a Christian, he has stood out against the world in many circumstances. So, by calling this new album Prototype 2, Sean is doing this to restate many of his original claims. One – that he is a follower of Christ. Two – that he lives to spread the gospel through his life. And three – he is not changing for anyone. This can be heard in his song “Revolt, in which Sean says:
I’m so missional, you know what that mean?
I kill myself and I live for the team.
Many of the tracks on this album discuss Sean’s stance on evangelizing through his actions and words. Both through his past life and what he is living now. That is part of what makes Sean who he is: his fervor for shining the light of Christ. Sean addresses the divorce of his parents in the intro track “Show Me Love,” and while for many, that would be almost unbearably hurtful, Sean channels that energy into useful activities.
The devil will always try to use life roadblocks to derail us on this walk, but not even Sean would let the separation of his parents hinder him from his goal. The song “U Can’t Stop Me” talks about his determination to always be spiritually aware of the time at hand, and always be on the job. That hype energy continues for the next few songs, as Sean reflects on what’s going on in this fallen world with the song “What Da Ham.”
Combined with the song “We Here”, these tracks are filled with the heart and soul of Sean. Many of the verses in these songs talk about going 100% for Christ, reaching out to those who are lost in their sin, and never backing down to opposition that the Devil will inevitably throw at you.
For those of you reading this who have heard of Sean Slaughter before, you will know what to expect from him. For those who do not, Sean is known to have unique production of the tracks that he uses. It’s not unique in any kind of super abstract way, but it’s never blindly following the trends that are popular at that time. You can identify it as hip-hop, but the sounds that are used aren’t ones that will make you go “oh, I’ve heard that kick drum/snare/synth instrument in a song before.”
Not all the kicks knock as hard as we’re accustomed to in the genre, but overall, this allows for Sean’s vocals to be heard clearly without any music fighting him. Even with this common instance through most of the tracks, there are some tracks with a serious groove to them. Some grooves were along the new-modern hip-hop and others were along the lines of the beats that hip-hop grew up on.
“Centerstage” is a nice rock tune that has a hook that rides well with the beat tempo. It makes you want to nod your head along with the track. “U Can’t Stop Me” has a flare and flow for the more modern rap listener – with a track full of hi-hat hits and a synth baseline. But it was cool to hear a handful of his beats to be reminiscent of hip-hop tracks that make you want to nod your head along and listen to his bars.
“Show Me Love” has a hard hitting drum loop like rap songs of old. “I Know” has a serious west coast rap feel to it, making it a certified head nodder. There are a few songs with some nice sample-driven beats like “What Da Ham”, “Make You Proud”, and “Flyaway.” All three of these have some nice samples that move the song along, putting you in the groove of rap songs of old.
As a prototype, you must stay original, and if that is Sean Slaughter’s claim, he has done a good job of being one. He hasn’t bitten off anyone’s style, and he hasn’t changed up his flow to sound like anyone else who is hot at the moment. Sean has stuck to what is him and what he knows is authentic to his life.
Prototype 2 definitely appeals to those lovers of the east coast rap style, as well as those who enjoy rappers who are transparent about their past and present lifestyles in Jesus. If you fit into any of these categories, or if you don’t, I recommend checking out Prototype 2, to hear Sean’s heart on the matters of living out ministry.
Prototype 2 by Sean Slaughter is now available for purchase on iTunes.