Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
Have you ever had something you wanted to say but couldn’t find the words? Generally I’m pretty good with my words, but with the really important things, I have a hard time finding the words. I was a shy kid growing up. I was the kid at school that always had his headphones on. That was because music was my outlet. Hip-hop spoke to me. It gave me the voice, confidence and acceptance that I always wanted. That’s why I fell in love with hip-hop.
When I became a Christian, my love for hip-hop never left, it just shifted to something bigger than the music itself. Christian MC’s were giving me a voice in a different way. I was learning and connecting with God through a special avenue that I felt was tailor made for me. Many fans of hip-hop feel the same way that I do; music isn’t just music to us. There is a connection that a listener can have with the message or the artist. Those times when you listen to a song and feel like that artist was talking directly to you, is what makes music special.
Plenty of hip-hop artists are really good at connecting to their listeners, but there aren’t many that have perfected this craft like Social Club. The South Florida duo has seemingly made a career of this skill. Every song from Social Club is like a window into their lives. There is something special that happens when a fan really connects with an artist on a personal level. On April 2nd Martymar and F.E.R.N. were back at it with their most recent release, Rejects. With growing popularity, a loyal following and some big co-signs (Andy Mineo, Rhema Soul & all of Collision Records) did the group deliver?
When I think of Social Club, the first word that comes to mind is transparent. They are very open, I would even venture to say that they are the most transparent group I’ve heard in Christian hip hop. Rejects is perfect evidence to support my lofty claim. Each track on the record has a point of utter transparency. The listener is allowed a glimpse into the lives these two artists have lived. Struggles, worries, faults, mistakes, the listener can hear all of that. This is never more clear than on the track “Loosing Sleep,” when Martymar spit this:
“Stuck in the spotlight I’m talentless/life is just like a circus and I’m just balancing
I just want to fall, maybe I can feel something/I try and force relationships and feel nothing
Life is a game and I’m just being played/and I broke every promise that I ever made
I’m saying things I thought that I would never say/if everything is in his plans, then everything is staged”
It’s bars like these that has made Social Club so different than other artists in CHH. This type of honesty is what connects listeners to them, and Rejects delivers a great amount of transparency and real life issues.
Rejects isn’t just transparency and real life stories, there is also plenty of biblical truths throughout the record. It’s not done in a christocentric fashion with tons of Bible verses throughout. It’s done in more of a real world application style that is told from a personal viewpoint through stories of struggles and trials. This is another trademark of the group and it’s something that makes for a more personal listening experience. It also makes Rejects a project that can stretch outside of the church walls and really have an impact on people.
Overall, the message on Rejects is the same message that Social Club carries with them all of the time. That message is that we are all broken people that are straight terrible (strt trbl) and we need a savior. No matter how bad you think you are or how bad it gets for you, there are people that will be there for you without judgement. All “rejects” and “misfits” are welcome. This pure acceptance is what Social Club is all about. It’s a message that everyone needs to hear, and that is the message on Rejects.
It’s not all about the message with Social Club. They can also make some good music. They have great chemistry, versatility and a lot of creativity. All of those things were on display in a major way on Rejects. The duo also brought some solid lyricism with them. Marty and F.E.R.N. continued to show an incredible ability to take real life situations and stories, and turn them into great songs. It’s not always easy to do that, but these two make it look effortless. In the midst of all the honesty and transparency there was some clever punchlines, like this gem F.E.R.N. spits on “Misfit Gang” featuring R-Swift:
“Dee Brown 7 on my chest got y’all all looking
pitchin’ 16’s like it’s work, call me Doc Gooden”
Social Club did a great job mixing up what they did lyrically, along with the tone of the record. Each track had its own personality and fit into the overall project well.
All the lyricism and chemistry wouldn’t be if the production didn’t match it. The production definitely kept the high standard Marty and F.E.R.N. set behind the mic. D-Flow, Cardec Drums and Tee-Wyla created a beautiful backdrop for Social Club to do their thing. The production aided them in every way that it should. As great as the production was, it never out-shined or took the spotlight away from them. There was also a variety in sound that allowed Social Club to show off their versatility and make for a well-rounded project. That is what Rejects is; well-rounded. It has different sounds and tones throughout, and that made Rejects a very enjoyable listening experience.
After listening to Rejects, you’d be hard pressed to find a lot of missteps, but there is one glaring misstep. Much like their other projects, Rejects was entirely too short. There is no set length that an album has to be, but usually a full-length album falls between 12-17 tracks. Rejects was only seven tracks long. That is long enough to show off some talent, provide some memorable moments and gain some fans, but it is also long enough to hide deficiencies.
Social Club hasn’t shown too many deficiencies thus far but there is still a question mark, because we haven’t heard them on a full length project. Questions like, can they stick to a concept, can they lyrically dominate a full- length album like they do their shorter projects, and what would a full length project from them look like, remain unanswered. I believe that Social Club can put together a fantastic full-length project, but until they do, these unanswered questions will linger.
Length aside, Social Club put together a really solid album. It will satisfy old Social Club fans and bring in some new ones. It is a record for anyone that has ever felt out of place or like they don’t fit in, so if that’s you, then Rejects will inspire you. It is also a great listen from start to finish. Social Club brought great music that has a great message, and the group definitely delivered on this record.