Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
One of Christian Hip-Hop’s most popular and successful artists is back with new music. On Friday, Dec. 9, Trip Lee dropped The Waiting Room mixtape.
Over the past few years Trip has seemingly taken a step back from music. He is doing less features and he doesn’t seem to be as much in the forefront as his label mates. Even with that, Trip is still a steady artist releasing a mixtape two years after his last record, Rise. His consistency has been unmatched in CHH and it’s only surpassed by his popularity. Since his debut, his smooth delivery, southern swag, honesty and passion for God has made him a fan favorite. That hasn’t changed for 10 years.
The Waiting Room mixtape is a beautiful combination of all of the things that has made Trip a fan favorite. Which in turn should make this mixtape a fan favorite. From a musical standpoint, this is one of Trip’s stronger performances, as he has really matured in his sound. He moves in between styles and sounds effortlessly and he changes his flow with ease. Overall, there is, a comfort and confidence that comes across clear, and makes for a better record. The opening track “Clouds” gives you an early example of the aforementioned. The track goes through a few beat changes and a couple of changes in his flow. It starts with a soft melody and a quicker flow, and then the beat drops and Trip chops his flow up a bit. This sounds like an odd combination but it works for this track. It’s one of the better songs and most replayable songs on the entire mixtape.
“IDK”, “Billion Years” and “Longer” are more examples of the good diverse music on The Waiting Room. “IDK” is a reserved and subtly beautiful track. It starts out with only a few instruments softly playing. This progresses into only drums during the verse. The song leads into the combination of the prior elements to create a fantastic song with a beautiful progression. The India Shawn assisted “Longer” is also a beautifully subtle track. Some great instrumentation and an angelic singing voice really make this track. Trip pairs a reserved and simple flow with the track, and it works perfectly. “Billion Years” featuring Taylor Hill is a great example of one of the elements that Reach has come to master over the years. The ability to mix two sounds together. This track is a nice mash up of CCM (Contempary Christian music) and CHH.
For the long time Trip Lee fans, there is plenty of what helped us fall in love with Trip in the first place. There are some legit bangers on The Waiting Room. Lead single “Too Cold” hits hard, as well as the classically sounding Trip track “Lord Have Mercy”. The intro sets up what’s to come perfectly here because when the beat drops halfway through the first verse, you’ve already been sucked into the track. “Out My Way” is another one that will have old fans feeling reminiscent. This faster paced track will also draw in newer fans and provide tons of playback value for everyone. These are the tracks that Trip was once known for, so it’s no surprise he excels here. The real beauty of this mixtape is that Trip excels in every element presented.
The music isn’t the only element of the record where Trip excels on The Waiting Room. The content on this record is also very strong. This, however, is not much of a surprise for Trip fans. He has always had strong theological content. There has never been much of a doubt as to what Trip’s music has been about. This record isn’t any different. This is most clearly evident on “Still Unashamed” featuring Tedashii. This is classic Reach and Trip Lee in its message about being unashamed of the Gospel. That same message travels through other songs, but that is not the whole mixtape.
On the Dimitri McDowell assisted “Ready”, Trip deals with his own mortality and his father’s death. It is a gut wrenchingly honest look into death and how to deal with the fact that it’s inevitable. “IDK” talks about the times when you feel as if God doesn’t hear you. The honesty in this track is what makes it work because many of have come to a time when we’ve said these lyrics:
“And I’m just being real when I say,
I don’t know if he’s just trying to dodge his promise, I don’t know
But I don’t know where else I could go
I don’t know if I can tolerate the silence, I don’t know.”
“Longer” is another track that pretty much every person can relate to, because it talks about being patient and enduring. We all come to a time when we feel as though we can’t carry on anymore. Trip has created the perfect song for that and for helping us to endure through those times.
The real heart of this mixtape is in its content. It’s a great record to listen to. It’s easy to get lost in and just listen to. The content is why this is a great record. The variety of topics he touches on in such a short time is impressive. From the heavy topics mentioned earlier to the wanting of money and even race, Trip sheds a light on it all. You’ll listen to the record for the music but you will definitely come back again and again for the content.
Over the past 10 years I feel as if I’ve grown up with Trip Lee; and grown up he has. Trip has pretty much turned himself into a living legend in CHH. He has changed with the times and kept himself relevant. Now, 10 years into an incredible career Trip has given us another stellar record to add to an already impressive resume.