Album Review: Viktory – R4 (Relentless 4ever) Vol. 2
Hip hop is a great tool to galvanize a group of people to do something. Whether it is living as a king, being unashamed, or signing up to die, the lyrics within the Christian hip hop community inspire people to go hard and give this walk all they have.
Viktory made his own banner in 2012 when he released R4 (Relentless 4ever). This was an action packed, energy-filled album that encouraged the believer to be relentless in whatever they do. The album was flooded with features from Fedel, Canton Jones, Andy Mineo, KJ-52, Bizzle and more. The album birthed the R4 army (what Viktory refers to his fans as) and left people wondering what he would do next.
Two years later, Viktory is back with R4 vol. 2. In this album review, we will look at how Viktory tackled the idea of being relentless forever after a 2 year hiatus.
Right out of the gate Viktory charges into the project with the intro track “I Am R4.” Similar to the song, “R4” on the first project, this song is a high energy song that people can get hype to. The main part the listener will walk away chanting is, “We won’t relent!” If you have been listening to Viktory, you know that he is all about grinding and putting in the effort needed to accomplish a goal. The concept of R4 isn’t just for our faith, it is also for how we live and do every day tasks.
Songs like “Drop it on the flow,” “Emancipation,” “Game On,” and “Grind Now. Live Free” also carry high energy along with a message infused with being relentless with our relationship with God and how that will effect our everyday life. Viktory does a great job talking about grinding and being focused without it turning into a works-based success program.
For instance, the message in “Grind Now. Live” is all about how the grind includes seeking Jesus and not falling into the lie that life is all about ourselves. He weaves real-life situations throughout the verses that show how easy it is for life to switch our focus from Jesus to our problems. Viktory is speaking about himself throughout the song, but the listener will be able to see that they too, may be faced with very similar thought patterns.
Keep It Ahunit
If you are a fan of an artist keeping it real, you will be satisfied with R4 vol. 2. Viktory shared some transparent moments on R4, but on vol. 2 we get to hear a little bit more of his heart. “Take Me Away,” “Preachers Cry,” and “Keep It Ahunit” really let the listener hear the vulnerably transparent side of Viktory the person.
Viktory mentioned that the verses in “Preachers Cry” were some of the realest bars that he’s ever wrote. The song is truly a heart cry that many Christians can relate to when battling sins that keep coming back to haunt them. He says in the first verse,
“It feels like I’m hogging all the grace/but the Lord still waits/ and I eat the whole plate/ even though he told us not to have a taste.”
Although the song is deeply personal, it will minister to many because the struggle with sin is so familiar for the believer. He emphasizes the One that bore the struggle for us and that it is only through Jesus that we will get true freedom.
Also on “Keep It Ahunit” Viktory speaks very frank to the listener. He keeps it 100 about situations that he’s seen and doesn’t hold back any punches.
“and I saw you’re outfit, you’re killin em’ son/but you’re absence in your home, is killin’ your son.”
“You wanna know why Vik can’t rest? ’cause she looking at a car, or getting’ fake breast/wild out for the night, or have save sex, and whatever she decides, her dude will accept.”
He challenges people all throughout the song and then, in humility, points the finger at himself. He says,
“Just because you got me on your cd on your mantle/don’t mean I don’t get mad or fly up off the handle.”
He spends the entire third verse explaining his flaws and points back to Jesus. He explains that despite our flaws, Jesus died for them and we can still grow beyond our struggles.
Viktory does a great job speaking to the listener in a way that is challenging, yet not condescending. He points out his flaws in a way that says, “I feel you because I have issues too, but we can’t sit in our mess.” Many people will be encouraged that they are not alone in the fight of faith.
Lyrical Delivery and Production
Viktory can be hit or miss when it comes to being a lyricist that has an arsenal of punch lines and creative word play. On this project, you will not hear a lot of tweetable punch lines, but you will notice his versatility. He switches up his flow quite a bit on this project and it shows how talented he is as an artist.
On “I am R4,” he has a simple flow where he is basically screaming into the mic and getting the listener excited. Then on the very next track, “You Still Heard Me” he comes with a smooth, semi-fast flow. Throughout the entire album, the listener will be able to hear Viktory tackle a variety of beats with flows that ride the beat very well.
The production on this project was solid. Overall, most of the songs were put together well. The sound became a bit crowded on songs like “I Am R4,” “Glory To The Beast,” “Game On” and “Grind Now Live Free”, though. On these songs, the beat and the vocals seemed to be competing for attention as the beat was louder than Viktory’s voice at times.
R4 Vol. 2 is a project that people will enjoy. The message is consistent throughout the entire record and the sequencing of the songs flow well. Many believers will be encouraged after listening to this project. If a person does not know Jesus, Viktory raps in such a way that will cause the non-believer to ponder why he is so passionate about serving Jesus.
Like the original R4, he teamed up with many notable names for this project. You will hear from ZG, Canton Jones, Canon, Derek Minor, Spec, V. Rose, Marty of Social Club and Marvin Winans Jr. You will not be disappointed by what they bring to the project. Derek Minor delivered a verse flooded with the aggressive, high-energy flow that fans love on “No Price.”
Overall, this is a project that has a lot of good songs and many high points throughout. If you are looking for a project with a bunch of hit records though, this is probably not the project for you. However, in R4 Vol. 2, Viktory provided a solid offering that encourages and edifies.