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Album Review: The Battery – Two

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.

Possibly unnecessary background bio

OG’s like Peace 586 and Jurny Big are worthy of their stripes and your respect. If you don’t know who they are, peep game:

Peace 586

A West Coast-by-way-of-New York MC/producer who has been mixing Christ and hip hop since the Regan era. Launched with J.C. and the Boyz, he later co-founded the Daisy Age-ish Freedom of Soul crew and went on to become the primary architect of the Tunnel Rat sound. Check his resume – year after year the brother consistently puts in quality work.

Jurny Big

For my money, he’s one of the best to ever do it – period. As you’ll hear on Two, he’s been a battle rapping Christian since he was a teen. He co-founded LPG with his cousin Dax Reynosa aka Theory and served as a point man for the Tunnel Rat family.

Together, Peace and Jurny form The Battery – a name taken from their favorite sport (baseball) that describes an unofficial pitcher/catcher partnership. Both positions have very different job roles, but they must work in tandem to achieve even the smallest modicum of success.

How do they do on Two? Keep reading.

The Synopsis

The Battery’s Two is essentially a concept album about an aging (but still dope) rapper/producer combo who love Jesus and hip hop, but are on a “jurny” to make “peace” with the results of choosing to simultaneously pursue both of those passions.

The Sound

Its soundtrack is textured with spacey boom bap that recalls their classic Earthworm catalog and is more accessible than The Battery’s first team effort (appropriately titled: One). Often, after Jurny Big concludes his surgically-precise lyrical reflections on the life of a blue-collar MC, the tracks extend themselves for several minutes. It’s not filler – it’s welcomed vibe.

The Content

The questions posed by Peace 586 and JB are actually some of the hardest any “Christian rapper” will face. When deeply considered, it’s easy to avoid the public pitfalls of their mainstream MC brethren: In lyrics and life – don’t chase women or money. Don’t drink, smoke, cuss, and chew or hang out with those who do.

Instead, it’s the deeper issues that repeatedly creep into one’s mind that are more challenging to answer: When do I call it quits? Is my family proud of me? Is my God proud of me? How do I react when I feel my brothers are doing it wrong, betraying me, or questioning my faith and motives?

The Critics

What’s intriguing is that, inevitably, The Battery will have to deal with some of the genre’s harshest critiques about the topic of this album. Some will ask where The Gospel meat is to be found on a record by a rapper seemingly only targeted to other rappers. Perhaps they’d be more satisfied if its central theme were the life and times of a bank executive attempting to reconcile his profession with his faith.

But such thinking leads to a Möbius strip of logic that only strengthens the artists’ arguments about the freedom a Christ follower is granted to rap about any topic as long as it doesn’t conflict with Biblical worldviews and ethics.

The Conclusion

Two’s message and methods may not be obvious to listeners who only know and/or prefer spoon-fed agenda music. But just because a gourmet meal is dense doesn’t mean it isn’t rich, packed with nutrients, and ultimately satisfying.

Album Review: Dre Mu
Meet Keno Camp: Gosp

Sketch the Journalist is a freelance hiphop writer living in the thriving country metropolis of Cut-N-Shoot, Texas. Down with gospel rap since Stephen Wiley’s “Bible Break” in 1986, he has chewed, reviewed, and interviewed most of Christian hiphop’s major players. Sketch holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Sam Houston State University and was once an intern at the New York Times Houston Bureau. You can follow Sketch on Twitter @Sketchthej or log-on to sketchthejournalist.com.

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