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Mixtape Review: Erica Danea – Dreams Die Hard

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

In the music industry, it’s difficult to make a name for yourself. If you’re not a part of a major label, or have fans promoting your music and brand, it’s difficult to establish yourself. And in an industry dominated by men, female rappers are scarce. They exist, but they don’t often get the promotion or backing that they deserve.

The years of the MC Lyte’s, Queen Latifah’s, Lauryn Hill’s, Lil’ Kim’s, Yo-Yo’s, and Missy Elliot’s are far and in between. The same can be said for Christian Hip Hop. There are a slew of female rappers who are making projects, but are not getting the attention that’s needed. There may be a stigma attached to them, as many may think that a woman cannot rap or hold her own. But there are female rappers in CHH that are holding their own, gaining a following, and putting out projects. But sadly, people don’t know their names.

Erica Danea, a Kansas City native, is one of these women who has a brand, a message, and a grind to spread the gospel. She is growing her Counter Culture Art brand, which is geared towards impacting and engaging the culture for the gospel through music, film, and clothing.

Erica Danea hit the Christian Hip hop scene in 2010 with her single “I’m a Christian”, was featured on Pastor AD3’s album No Pain No Love, and was a part of Thi’sl’s 2013 Gurl Code album, which featured other female rappers like Natalie Lauren, Jackie Hill-Perry, HeeSun Lee, Butta P and many others. And in 2014, she released her project Substance on Sound. She has steadily been putting out music and has also had the opportunity to team up with artists like Sauce Remix and K-Drama.

Erica recently released her latest mixtape Dreams Die Hard on March 3. We take a look at each track and what Erica brings to the genre.

Kingdom of Dreams feat. Eric Ashby

Erica Danea hits the ground running with “Kingdom of Dreams” featuring Eric Ashby, as she encourages listeners to fight and chase their dreams. Her lyrics are presented with a realistic aspect, as she paints a story with her words, and then encouraged listeners to pursue their purpose and passions. This is a great intro track for the project, as it set the tone of how the project would go and possibly be received. The production on this track is smooth and the vocals helped balance the track out very well.

Worst

This track is relevant for everyone who hears it, as we have all heard voices in our heads telling us what we can and cannot do. In the end, we are our worst enemy. But we must combat that with God’s word. This is such a relevant song, as Erica continues to hone in on her concept of dreams dying hard, and to chase them – because no one else can chase them, if you don’t.

“I am my, I am my, I am my, I am my, worst enemy.

Lord, I need, Lord I need, Lord I need, I need you deliver me

I am my, I am my, I am my, I am my, worst enemy.

Lord, I need, Lord I need, Lord I need, I need you deliver me.”

Everyday feat. Johniii and Majesty

The production on this track is very catchy and Erica rides the beat very well. Though her lyricism is simple, and is an area for growth, it is one that we can catch and understand.

Elevated

This has to be my least favorite track on the mixtape as I’m not a fan of Erica’s voice fluctuations. The up’s and down’s of her voice distracts the listener from enjoying the track. Though I do understand what she was trying to do, by bringing something different to the table, it just felt like it took away from the song.

I Do It

Erica’s grittiness can slightly be heard on “I Do It,” as she rides the beat and drops a few punchlines in the process. Erica knows the stigma that is attached to being a “female rapper,” but combats against that by grinding through the stigma and putting forth her message and voice.

I Wanna Fly

Erica closes out the project with a smooth track that talks about wanting to fly and succeed in life. This is where the concept of “dreams die hard” comes full circle. In this track, Erica talks about the fears which exist in dreams, as they can be nightmares as well. In this track, she pushes through with faith being her foundation.

Conclusion

Overall, Dreams Die Hard is a decent project from the Kansas City native. Danae’s motivation and grind can be heard all over the project, as she is trying to make a mark in an industry that is scarce on female rappers. Erica raps from a place where she understands the grind and the push to dream and believe in what you are doing, and why the Lord has you here.

Though I am not a fan of voice fluctuations on some of the tracks, I do enjoy the music and grind she brings to the genre. I do believe, in time, as she continues to grow as an artist, Erica’s message will and can be heard. Women, popular or not, known or unknown, have a voice in this industry. It is time that we let their voice be heard, and support them.

Dreams Die Hard is now available on iTunes and Google Play.

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Mikaela "Laide Mak" McIntosh is an editor and reporter for Wadeoradio.com. She can also be heard on the Wade-O Radio Show. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Mass Media from Valdosta State University and a Master of Arts degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. You can follow her on Twitter @Mikaelalaidemak.

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