With Jurny Big on the mic and Peace 586, The Battery show what they’re about with their style of Christian hip-hop on their new album, Two (Illect). While I do not have any religious affiliation, I enjoy a wide range of styles of hip-hop, including religious/spiritual hip-hop, and when those references are made, that generally means Christian. However, don’t let that be a stereotype and clog your head so that you’re not going to listen. These guys are on the positive side of things and I think with a lot of music being passed off as “music”, it’s nice to hear messages that will motivate people to keep themselves on track and say on the up and up.
I only found one song to go a bit overboard for me, and it’s “Glass”, which is arguably the most positive song on the album. I found the repetition of some of the lyrics getting to the point where it comes off like a mantra. The funny thing is, I love mantras or repetition when it is used in other genres, be it jazz, minimalism, soul, Indian classical, or even a different type of devotional music like Qawwali. This is devotional hip-hop, and yet I found this particular song to be a bit forced, as if it’s trying to convey a message that has no alternate answers or choices, and yet I could easily see their fans saying “well, that is the point of the song, there are no alternate answers or choices”. When I hear artists like Sivion, Braille, or Ruslan, I don’t get that feeling where I feel like I’m being pushed in a corner just because I’m listening, I don’t want music to feel like a threat and it’s something I rarely feel. Is that the power of the almighty word? I understood what Jurny Big was trying to say, but it seemed a bit too much for me.
The rest of the album is well balanced, and the production has that mid to late 90’s feel where the choruses are scratched excerpts from well known tracks, and with Rip One and Kair One assisting in the DJ’ing, they help The Battery charge up the aura of the music to where their “words” are a major contribution to what Two is about. I absolutely loved the track they did with Propaganda, “Finna Be”, and the use of The Fantastic Epic’s bassline is perfect. As for “Glass”, it’s not a bad song but as the saying goes, your mileage may vary. Embrace Two and see how it affects you.