Every die-hard music fan goes through their “underground” artist phase. This is basically when that fan doesn’t listen to anything “mainstream,” because it’s too “gimmicky.” I know this phase is real because I entered it and I don’t ever really remember getting out. When I was listening to secular music, I was the guy that always listened to artists that no one in my area listened too. When I started listening to Christian Hip-Hop, I had a real hard time finding the “underground” artists that I was dying to hear. Then I found this MC from Columbus, Ohio that called himself The Street Pastor.
I stumbled upon Street, who now goes by his government name, Yaves, at a time when I was looking for an artist that seemed to be a little off the casual fans radar. When I found him, I found something special. Yaves showed me the hunger and skill that I loved from “underground” artists, but he also showed the ability to make full-length albums, which is a trait that some “underground” artists can never master. Mixtape after mixtape and album after album, Yaves continued to show his amazing talent behind the mic. He’s done this while creating one of the longest resumes in all of CHH.
Yaves is adding to his incredible resume with his new album Favor Over Fury. I’m going to share with you three things I liked about this record, a few songs that will have you diving for the repeat button and if this album is some of Yaves’ best work or just another record to add to his resume.
3 Things I liked
The Tone of the record
One of the most important things that I have learned working with kids, is that it’s not necessarily what you say but the manner in which you say it. You have to convey the feelings and emotions behind what you’re saying to further drive home your point, or when you are correcting (or saying something that person won’t like) you still have to convey the love and acceptance that that person needs to hear. This is all found in the tone of the person who is talking. Tone is so important in interacting with children, and all people for that matter.
This is also very important in music. The tone of a record can elevate an ordinary album to something very memorable. It can also tank an album with promise. Yaves very cleverly used the tone of Favor Over Fury to elevate this project. His tone was continually consistent with the message of each individual track, and he turned that into an overall tone for the entire record. Yaves also matched his tone with the tone of the production, so you feel what Yaves wants you to feel. The tone is serious throughout the record but never glum or sad. Overall you feel this record and you feel the music.
The Consistency of the record
Consistency is one of the most important elements of a great album for me. An album that can set a high standard early on and at the very least maintain that standard, usually ends up being a great album. On Favor Over Fury there was a lot of consistency in the tone, which (as the listener) I appreciated. The consistency didn’t end there though. Yaves showed a consistency lyrically that he has lacked in the past. From start to finish Yaves dazzles the listener with fantastic wordplay, metaphors and punchlines.
Yaves is one of the artists in CHH that aims to create art. Every offering from him has him pushing his limits to try and create something outside of the box and timeless. The danger with art is that it’s fragile, one wrong move and it’s tragic. That was far from the case here, Yaves had a consistent and very strong display of artistry. There were very few mistakes on this record, and that made it an absolute joy to listen too.
The Features on the record
One of the first things that stands out on this record (other than the incredible artwork) are the artists featured on it. Anytime you have Swoope, Ruslan, KamBINO, and Young Joshua featured on your record, you’re going to turn some heads. Those are four of some of the best lyricists CHH has to offer, and each of them brought their best for their appearance on Favor Over Fury. These features wouldn’t be as great if Yaves didn’t come alongside them and bring his best as well. Yaves did just that and added some memorable moments to this record. Another good feature was Jackie Hill. The spoken word artist painted a picture with her words and added another element to the record.
One thing I’ve always appreciated about Yaves, is that he always brings some people that are off the radar with him. Check any Yaves record and you will find some names you aren’t too familiar with. You will find some of those names on Favor Over Fury and those names help make this record special. J-Word, J-Martyr, Trev-Eaz and Aaquil all make appearances on this record. If you weren’t familiar with any of these names before today then you will after this record, because they all add stellar performances that are on par with their bigger name counterparts.
- “Problems” (featuring Trev-Eaz, KamBINO, J-Martyr & Aaquil) – Essentially this track is a cypher, and it had all the great elements that a cypher has. Each artist on this track gave incredible performances and the production was great. This is just a great song.
- “Speak” (featuring Swoope) – Anything with Swoope on it is usually phenomenal, and “Speak” is no different. Swoope lent a great verse dealing with current issues. But this track is great because Yaves gives an equally as great of a verse. Yaves and Swoope together is a dream combination, and they showed why on “Speak.”
- “Dying To Live” (featuring Ruslan & Ron Riley) – This is my favorite song on the record and one of my favorite songs all year. This is a truly incredible song. It was relatable, inspiring and motivating. This is a track that you will play over and over again.
Great album or Just another good one?
There is a fine line between good and great. Usually there are just a few things that prevent an album from being great. I think putting out great music is more important now than ever, because there is so much good music coming out that some albums will get lost in the shuffle or forgotten. It’s the great albums that will last. So the question is, did Yaves produce a great album? I say, yes. I mentioned some of the little things that Yaves did that elevated this record. It was also the big things that he did great. His lyricism was great, the production was solid, and the overall sound of the record was fantastic.
When you put all of those things together, you have a great album. Favor Over Fury wasn’t just a great album, it was probably Yaves’ best work to date. With the incredible resume that I mentioned earlier, that is saying something. It also shows that Yaves will still be adding to this resume for a long time to come.