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Album Review: SPZRKT – Lucid Dream

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SPZRKT Photo Credit: B. Moore Visuals
Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.

When I see the name SPZRKT, I think eclectic, unique, transcendent, and unchain. Much like the spelling of his artist name, SPZRKT (pronounced spazzy rocket) is a talented enigma that came out of nowhere and created a memorable stamp in the CHH realm. With smooth yet powerful vocals, he has grown a reputation for being a strong person to collaborate with among rappers and singers alike; working with the likes of Social Club, D-Tropp, Cheno Lyfe, and Derek Minor. Having most recently signed to STRT TRBL Music, Spazzy releases a new project called “Lucid Dream” – his first ever under this new label.

But even though this is his first offering under STRT TRBL, SPZRKT is no rookie, offering up four projects since June 2012. Signing to a label provides opportunity to have growth in one’s fan base. As one who knows of Spaz, but has never listened to a full album of his in the past, I listened to this project; focusing in for the “first impression power” that it possesses. And after many spins, I’ll break down what I heard in it.

Content/Concept

Artists are always good for making a title for something so abstract that you get exhausted trying to decipher what it means. But all it took was a little research to understand why the project was called Lucid Dream, had a panda with a headdress of feathers, the space-ish background, to understand where Spazzy was going with his cover, as well as the project as a whole. (Not to mention that I found out that the panda is kind of like his logo.)

Lucid is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “very clear and easy to understand.” The definition of lucid is a fitting definition to everything in this album. I must admit, that with all the different styles of music in just 11 songs, Lucid Dream can sound like a musical menagerie, full of so many different things all at once; like he was just showing off all that he is capable of. But, that is the genius of it. SPZRKT is very diverse in his vocal ability that he can adapt to any genre of music and sing it well. The songs are so good that you want to listen to them again, and once you listen to them more than once, you can hear how clearly he presents the message of his devotion to Christ.

SPZRKT does an awesome job of being creative with his musical delivery without creating confusion to what he is singing about. Songs like “A-OK” dive into Spazzy’s musical past, doing talent shows, entering competitions like The Voice, X-Factor, America’s Got Talent and getting sent home each time; unpacking how it made him feel like his dream wasn’t worth anything. “The Motion” divulges inner struggles with himself about his art direction. Much like other artists who have a unique sound, Spaz has turned his feelings of failure, and the frustration with people not sure how to categorize him, into an avenue to express himself.

One of the best examples of his “turning lemons into lemonade,” is the intro song “Back to You.” In this one song alone, there are three genres of music – where Spazzy sings about crawling back to Jesus amongst everything he has been through. There are a lot of songs that are driven by worship-laced choruses and breakdowns. And with artists like Social Club, John Givez, Marz, D-Tropp and Braille featured on this album, there are too many gems on this project for you to play it through just once.

Artistry/Musicality

As described as a “musical menagerie” earlier, the 11 track long Lucid Dream consists of about four genres of music, not counting the three-genre intro track. Now, I am not one who enjoys secular hip hop of today. I hate the sounds that are reused and overused in the music. I hate the flows I hear from the rappers these days, I’m really annoyed with the overuse of trap music …. and somehow, SPZRKT made me enjoy it. Mostly in jest, Spazzy raps in cadences that will remind you of a handful of rappers you hear on the charts these days. He has a lot of fun through this album, joking around with shout outs and he even has a hilarious musical skit where he basically sounds like every rapper on the radio mixed together at once. And with all the joking and impersonations, I really thought those songs were hot. “$pezzy $weg Da $wegazord” is one of my favorite tracks on that album.

The song “BC” with Marz has to be one of the greatest ballads of a life-turned-around-by-salvation I’ve heard in the past five years. In my personal opinion, this song comes out as my favorite ballad only by a hair above “U N I V E R S E.” I was singing the chorus to this song for days. “Jesus, You mean the U N I V E R S E to me” is such a simple utterance of adoration and Spazzy sings it beautifully. “A-OK” has a great sample in it (at least I think it’s a sample) and it rides real smooth in the car stereo.

I recommend listening to this song on an afternoon when you’re not in a rush so you can just ride slow to it. But of all the songs, my absolute favorite is “The Feel II.” This song has both the musical style and rap flow of that early 90’s rap (one of my favorite styles of all time). Every time I put it on, I have to rap along to the lyrics:



”Your love is your love is the realest (x2)

the only one give me that feeling (x2)

you got me up up to the ceiling (x2)

you gave me this love as a gift

and nobody ever could steal it.”

Maybe it’s because that time of my life holds fond memories, but hearing that style of rap with a track that makes you nod your head, bring me nothing but joy.

Conclusion

If I were a person who came across SPZRKT perchance by a stray retweet on Twitter or a repost by someone on Facebook, and this was my first time hearing his music, I would be hooked. The dream of Spazzy that has been offered under STRT TRBL is lucid and transparent. I think this is a great reintroduction to the world of who SPZRKT is as an artist, a singer, and what has happened in his life to make him the SPZRKT we see before us. I love the creativity displayed in each track whether it was comedic, the ballads, or the “turn up” tracks with the featured artists.

We’ve heard a lot from this young brother in the past, but if this past year is an indication to what is to come, he is not going to go anywhere any time soon. This album will be a great addition to your iTunes library. God has given SPZRKT a unique gift to fit wherever he wants to go. I foresee him tackling a numerous amount of new styles, conforming them to a way that keeps it “spazzy,” and I welcome it with open arms. Just as long as he keeps it “lucid.”

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Daniel Cody is the engineer for the Wade-O Radio podcast and producer of The Life Change radio program for 4th Generation Ministries. He has a Bachelors Degree in Music Production & Record Engineering. He has a passion for authentic rap about the Gospel and collaborates with all genres of Christian music with his production company - Man of God Productions. Follow him on Twitter @DRoyulMOG.

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