Disclaimer: All views presented in this EP Review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O
One of the things that keeps hip-hop so interesting, is that it’s always changing. It’s like a living thing in the way that it is constantly changing. It’s affected by the times musically. New or different sounds get infused into the genre, or a different spin on an old sound becomes popular. Other times, the genre can shift because of the culture. New cultural norms come to the forefront and change the course of the genre. Hip-hop has always been the voice of the disenfranchised and sometimes the genre will change because a new voice (or cause) needs to be heard. Hip-hop will also take on natural growth and expansion just like anything else. New faces, voices, sounds and perspectives constantly flood the genre and keep it fresh, new, and exciting.
Over the past few years Christian hip-hop has seen itself change and grow also. Lyricism has come back to the forefront. Creativity and experimentation with sounds has had a high premium. The idea of making great art to accompany the lifesaving message has also had a strong backing. Now it seems as if CHH is poised to change again, this time in an exotic and unique way.
Singer/Songwriter Marz Ferrer is set to drop her highly anticipated EP Blur. Marz burst onto the scene last year with her beautiful but very different sound. Since then, she has worked with some of the best artists the genre has to offer. She has developed a strong buzz and has started to create a lane in CHH where it didn’t seem possible to have one. Now it is time for her to establish this new lane in CHH with her solo music.
Change is always a tricky thing. Most people don’t like it and it doesn’t take long to find someone pining for the days “when it was better.” Hip-hop is not immune to this. Every time the culture shifts in any direction there are groups of outraged fans that want it to go back. However, I think that Marz and her new record is the exception to this. She is driving the culture to a new place. And it’s a place that everyone should embrace and enjoy.
What makes this record different
The main thing that makes this record different is probably the most obvious thing, and that’s Marz’s sound. If you are familiar with Marz, then you know that she has a sound completely unlike anything else that is out right now. Her voice is striking. She has a type of voice that is not easy to forget. She isn’t a traditional singer or what you would expect to be a part of CHH. Nonetheless, her voice is beautiful. She has this way of singing that can completely relax the listener while still captivating them. Blur was just that, both beautiful and captivating.
Marz’s voice isn’t the only thing that is different on Blur. The overall sound she creates in her music is spectacularly different. Because her voice is different, it requires a different sound. She is so unique that she can’t be fit into one box, so what you get from Marz is a mixture of everything. On Blur you get some beautiful singing mixed with a little hip-hop, folk, alternative, worship and some pop. It’s all mixed together perfectly in a beautiful package. The title track featuring JGivens is a good example of this. She brings her voice together with this beautiful string instrument (I’m assuming a guitar), a few other unique sounds, and then brings in the drums perfectly for the hook. For the cherry on top, JGivens blesses the song with a great lyrical verse. It comes together to give a sound that can’t be isolated to any one genre, but it makes a perfect match and creates a phenomenal musical experience.
This is what makes Marz and more specifically her record Blur so different. It’s unlike anything CHH has ever seen. This however can be a blessing and a curse. It is so different. Will CHH accept it? Marz is carving out her on lane but does it fit on the highway that is Christian Hip-Hop?
Why CHH fans will enjoy this record
Hip-Hop is a place that has always accepted those that didn’t fit in. It took the misfits and gave them a place to be themselves. It also gives them a place to thrive. Hip-Hop has turned the world on its head because it is so different. That’s what CHH is doing now as a sub genre amongst the bigger genre. It’s different and that’s part of its charm and what makes it attractive. This is one of the reasons CHH will enjoy Blur. Here uniqueness makes her a fantastic addition to the genre and no other genre is better equipped to welcome her.
Another reason CHH fans will love this record is because it is beautiful art. CHH has grown to a place where artistry is appreciated at a very high level. CHH fans love and appreciate good music. Blur isn’t just good music, it’s great music. CHH fans will respect and appreciate that. Good art, no matter the sound, is beautiful. “Incredible” is one of the most fantastically written and arranged songs to be made this year. It doesn’t have an overly hip-hop sound but it’s a great track. It is a track that fans of all music will enjoy repeatedly. That is the trend throughout this whole record; great art that fans of music will love.
Lastly, hip-hop fans will enjoy this record because it has elements of hip-hop in it. Three of the eight tracks are featuring rappers, including one of the brightest (and hottest) rising stars in the genre, JGivens. His verses alone are enough to hold the attention of any hip-hop fan. If that’s not enough, the drums and fantastic arrangements will definitely do it. Blur isn’t the typical package for a CHH record but it definitely is as much hip-hop as anything else that has come out of the genre. It’s carefully and beautifully made. It’s unique and different. It’s challenging and intelligent. It’s spiritual and theological. This record is everything a CHH fan would want in a record.
Overall, Blur is a fantastic project. Everything about the record is beautifully done. The content is fantastically delivered. The whole record points the listener towards Christ and presents it in such a fashion to where the listener can reflect on the beauty and majesty of Christ throughout the record. The production was also done well and Marz creates an overall listening experience that is one of a kind. This record seems to get better and better with every listen. Blur is wonderful addition to CHH and it is a great record for Marz. Most importantly, it’s a record that will bring a change to the genre.
Marz Ferrer’s EP ‘Blur’ is set to be released Tuesday, December 9th. ‘Blur’ is now available for preorder on iTunes.