Top 10 Christian Hip Hop Projects from the First Half of 2016
As 2016 began, it started off with surprises. One of which came from Lecrae, with the surprise release of his conclusion to the Church Clothes mixtape series. We have seen the return of veterans, the transition of artists maturing into themselves, and debut albums from artists we have been anticipating music from. So far, 2016 has not disappointed.
The Wade-O review team has come together and have compiled a list of the Top 10 Project from the first half of this year.
When choosing the projects, we had a set criteria. We thought about which albums had memorable moments, great production, and artistry. The artists varied from well-known to fairly new. Overall, we expect that if you check out these albums, you will really enjoy them.
This list is comprised of projects that were released between January and June of this year.
Top 10 albums in order from 10 – 1:
10. Joey Jewish – Beautiful Solitude
The smooth, melodic sounds of the album incorporating with Joey Jewish’s even smoother delivery made this album. He took a completely different direction in every aspect than his previous projects. He shows the importance of allowing solitude to take its course in ones life and how to learn from it.
You experience Joey’s heart through this album, as you also hear the growth from his personal life. This album shows that we have only began to experience Joey’s talent and it leaves listeners anticipating what he will come out with next. –Chanel
9. Sevin – Purple Heart
Sevin brings the good news of Jesus Christ with Purple Heart, as he holds nothing back with his lyricism and delivery. With being a great addition to the God Over Money brand, Sevin has the ability to be vulnerable in his music, present a story, and point it all back to God and Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.
The HOG MOB and GOM emcee brings his testimony and transparency to each and every track on Purple Heart. His versatility is also heard, as he delivers both lyrically and vocally. Purple Heart also provides replay value with tracks like “Purple Heart”, “Y.O.L.O.”, “If I Could”, “Righteous War”, “Broken Mirror” and a great selection of features.
Purple Heart is bold, transparent, and unapologetic in presenting the Gospel. –Mikaela
8. Datin – The ROAR
If you are scrolling through this list and you are either surprised by this choice or haven’t heard of Datin, then you need to stop and go listen to The ROAR. This record shouldn’t fly under anyone’s radar. It is a solid record from start to finish, with several tracks that will be replayed throughout the rest of this year. Datin is a strong artist with tremendous lyrical ability. On The ROAR, that is matched with some solid production, and all together it makes a very good record.
This record is a good listen and Datin is an artist that will be making a lot of noise for a long time in CHH. –Aubrey
7. Eshon Burgundy – The Passover
Eshon masterfully intertwines a biblical reference to his personal reality. He shares his heart of being liberated from the stifling life of public housing and poor neighborhoods, which limited his ability to see beyond his immediate reality.
Throughout the album he shares his gratitude to God for not only sparing his life from his childhood neighborhood, but also for the gift of salvation and showing him a better life. His well-known lyrical delivery is still evident on this album and listeners weren’t disappointed on the content of the album either. –Chanel
6. Kaleb Mitchell – 45
When Kaleb Mitchell dropped his album 45, it received waved reviews. The teenager impressed with this project, holding up against some of the greats within CHH.
Incorporating an old school feel, Kaleb Mitchell brings lyricism, confidence, creativity, and versatility to the genre with his impressive album. Playing on the comeback and greatness of Michael Jordan, Kaleb brings his own greatness to the table.
This album showcases both of Kaleb’s lyrical and production skills. It is expressive, versatile, relatable, mature, and holds plenty of playback value. The young emcee is definitely a force to be reckon with, and 45 is a great example of that force and talent. –Mikaela
5. Da’ T.R.U.T.H. – It’s Complicated
This album was nothing short of the artists’ name and Da’ T.R.U.T.H. did not disappoint listeners with this project. He delivered a heavy, apologetics-filled album and still managed to use production that listeners wanted to hear and vibe to.
Da’ T.R.U.T.H. created an album with topics many artists have avoided and incorporated the teachings of a well-known Christian apologist as well. Once again Da’ T.R.U.T.H. has managed to show that CHH is not just about the sound but about the message of each song. The boldness and fearlessness of this album is what made it resonate so well with listeners. –Chanel
4. Lecrae – Church Clothes 3
It’s hard to find a list of the “best of” albums and not find a Lecrae record. He has sat at the top of CHH for a long time. 2016 is no different. He does a surprise release of Church Clothes Vol. 3 earlier this year and basically stopped CHH for a few days, while everyone digested his latest offering. Much like most of his records, Lecrae did not disappoint with this record.
Church Clothes 3 is a great offering from Lecrae. It has a lot of the classic things that we love about Lecrae. There was some amazing production, tremenduous playback value and a lot of versatility. There was a lot of depth to this record and social commentary. Lecrae dealt with some weighty issues and that made this record all the better. Another year and another great record from Lecrae. –Aubrey
3. NF – Therapy Session
Last year NF was left off of this exact same list and that was definitely a mistake on my part. His newest offering, Therapy Session, proved how wrong I was because this was even better than Mansions. NF is developing into one of the more popular and talented artists in the entire genre. He has a vulnerability and genuiness to him that is undeniable. His music connects with listeners on a different level.
All of that describes Therapy Session perfectly. It is a candid and emotional record that really reaches the listener. This record will only get better with age because the listener can grow with it and continually go back to it when they are in an emotional spot. NF gave CHH a legitimately great record and made it to where it will be tough to leave him off of a list ever again. –Aubrey
2. Dream Junkies – Good Religion
Dream Junkies is quickly becoming one of the most consistent and excellent groups CHH has ever seen. Since the group came together they have flooded the genre with great music both individually and collectively. This year is just another addition to a stunning resume. When Good Religion dropped, it immediately became a record that consumed playlists. All of the things that made Ruslan, Beleaf and John Givez great in the past was on display throughout this record and then some.
Good Religion is everything that makes CHH and hip-hop great. They have mastered everything that the group can master and they just dazzle the listener with displays of lyricism that are jawdropping. This record will be on plenty of “best of” lists by the end of this year and will be a record that can be played for years to come. –Aubrey
1. Christon Gray – The Glory Album
The smooth vocals and lyricism of Christon Gray can be heard all over his second album, The Glory Album. The project was the first debut album under his new label deal with Kirk Franklin’s Fo Yo Soul Recordings, and he did not disappoint.
The highly anticipated album provided excellent playback value, with each song providing quality production, writing, lyricism, and creativity. Christon continues to grow as an artist, as he created great imagery with his vocals and writing. The production shined throughout The Glory Album, highlighting strings, orchestral drums, synths and piano. This project cohesively came together with both Side A and Side B presenting a personal story, and a project that showcased a mature Gray. With standout tracks like “Stop Me”, “Open Door (See You Later)”, “50 Shades”, “Fort Knox”, “Black Male (Black Mail)” and “Follow You”, Christon Gray is an artist who is not afraid to take risks with his music. –Mikaela