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Mixtape Review: Thi’sl – Heavy is the Head

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

Mixtapes have been a big part of Hip-hop for a long time. It has been used as a tool to connect fans with their favorite artists. Some artists used mixtapes as a way to gain notoriety or grow their fanbase. It’s a great tool for artists to stay relevant and it’s also a great way for artists to hone their skills and become better artists.

Even though it is insanely popular in the mainstream Hip-hop industry, it really has never been that prevalent in CHH. Whether it is the evolution of the genre or another reason, Christian rappers haven’t really done mixtapes.

Mixtapes are interesting because they don’t have the same rules as albums or EPs. Mixtapes have always been a way to get some music out to a hungry fanbase; so it doesn’t have to have a concept. They don’t have to be as lyrically strong or as diverse sonically. Artists can feel free to experiment with their music, as it is free from the ties or judgment of a label. Artists can rap over other beats, freestyle or make any type of record without the normal parameters of a song.

This is music for the artists’ core fanbase and it has been what was truly on the artist’s heart. Some would even say that it was the start of the independent movement that has taken over Hip-hop today.

Thi’sl has been one of the biggest artists in CHH since his entry. Throughout is decorated career he has always marched to the beat of his own drum. He has always made the music exactly the way he’s felt he’s supposed to. So with the release of his new mixtape Heavy is the Head, the expectations are high.

In this review, we’ll tell you what to expect from Heavy is the Head:

The Sound

Heavy is the Head has a very interesting sound for a Thi’sl record. Overall, it’s a very diverse sound and is probably the most diverse sound Thi’sl has ever had. He is known for his trap records, and this record delivers some more of that sound. “The Delay”, “Pull Up” and “Drop 40” featuring Dee-1 are classic trap records where Thi’sl was most in his element.

“The Come Up” is a more thoughtful track that still maintains that rough edge Thi’sl brings. The record also slows down and brings some soul and depth. “Lord Help Me”, “Yesterday” featuring Theresa Payne and Scarface, and “Jesus Wept” featuring Jai are all beautiful sounding tracks. With all of these put together Heavy is the Head is a complete record. It sounds great and possess a lot of different good styles.

The Content

Thi’sl has always spoken straight from his heart. He has never followed what would be considered the typical “Christian” music message. Thi’sl has always brought a level of practical life application and social awareness to his content. He always brings the gospel but he does a great job of mixing it with what he thinks the street needs to hear. Heavy is the Hand is the perfect mixture of that.

The mixtape starts a bit light on the content side, but definitely draws the listener in. As the record progresses, it gets heavier. “What are we fighting for” feels like a letter to individuals who live in the hood and touches on a nerve that needs to be addressed. “Lord Help Me” expands on this and also brings the gospel into the message. It’s a beautiful track that reaches the audience Thi’sl is aiming for.

The mixtape continues to get heavier with the track“Yesterday,” when Thi’sl talks about the death of someone close to him. The project continues with the track “Jesus Wept,” which is basically a prayer.

Overall, this record has great content and it delivered with such passion and love. It’s heavier than most mixtapes but more importantly it’s timely. Heavy is the Head is a record that a lot of people need to listen to.

Overall

The overall expectation for this mixtape is good music that can be listened to in almost any mood. You can “turn up” to this record, reflect and even praise God, as there are some interesting tracks. Songs “It’s All Good” featuring Ashthon Jones and “Lean On Me” featuring Courtney Orlando (fka JR) sound like mixtape records. They both are essentially remakes of other songs (“Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. and “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers). Tracks like that don’t usually make albums.

“Straight Out The Trap” also felt like a mixtape record because it was so far from what Thi’sl usually does. It had an old school feel to it and seemed like he was trying something completely different. Some may take issue with southern Hip-hop legend Scarface lending his talents to “Yesterday”, but I think it worked out perfectly. Scarface delivered a great feature (not much of a surprise there) and it was a song that everyone can relate to. This track has the opportunity to reach plenty more people.

Thi’sl has always been missional and this track is a perfect example of that. All in all this was a great mixtape. It had a lot of the elements that mixtapes usually have but it also delivered a message that mixtapes don’t usually have. Thi’sl did a great job with Heavy is the Head.

Related: Thi’sl on ‘Heavy is the Head’ and Racial Divides in the Church
Related: New Video: Thi’sl – “Straight out the Trap”

Top 10 Christian Hip
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Aubrey McKay has a strong passion and love for CHH, and he uses that to write album reviews for Wadeoradio.com. He is a graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland Florida. He currently resides in Lakeland and teaches middle school. Twitter: @ajmckay24

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