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The year 2015 could not have come with a better bang with nearly each month having had a buzz in hip hop both Christian and secular alike dropping like manna. Singles, to say the least, equally have had a share of their own hiatus. In all drops, one that caught our attention the most was Church’s anticipated #ThisIsChurchMixtape. The tape could not have come at a better time and in summary, the wait was worth it. Following Church online, you could tell the work he put in this and make those copies sell. It’s more than obvious #ThisIsChurchMixtape had to come on deck for a review.

#ThisIsChurchMixtape is a sound exploration in concept of who and what Church is about. Not only does Church execute this concept on grounds of his alias but he also intelligently vocalizes out what really church should be. Two and many more listens clearly sinks this message in, from my listening point of view. Through this tape Church captures realities of life such as love, relationships, family strife and turmoil, intimacy with the Most High, acceptance, rejection and many related. “I put my feeling in writing/ Girl wish you a love letter/ Now you know si maths yeka yamene imakufela/ Now you know what you are/ So if you love me, you love God/ Jesus loved the Church..” on the song “On My Way” are one of his many lines that places Trudon (Church) as one rapper with that element of impressive punchlines and metaphoric wordplay in his lyrics. The coursing of most songs on this tape takes up diverse styles. It goes with different moods but continues echoing one message, church. The production is fused on both hype and mellow notes emanating from trap to house, acoustic and somber.

The mid section of the album is what one would regard as a B-side of the tape. It takes a personal route from the upbeat and hype that opens up the Mixtape. “Grace”, “Chosen”, “Always Been There” and “Nasumina” are that seasoning to that personal feel. The expressions of the features were the perfect collabo for what each song communicated. Not deviating from the “B-side” of the Mixtape, Church not only proves he is a good producer but also a good singer. He brings on that macho and deep commanding tone on one, yet another, personal and God-intimate song “Tefyo Mwansalile”. This one would have been best done as an outro but it still held its mark on the slot it was fused; beautiful song. A notable banger on the tape was the hit single “Nkamubombele”, to which I still question who was being worked for in the chorus as sang by Abel…was it God or mom?? This of course is owing to the review that was exclusively given on the song months ago. The song had guest appearances of Tasha and the revolutionary Abel Chungu Musuka. Abel’s other guest appearance was on “Chosen”, there was no better feature than him. The ending part of the song just took it home for me; Abel just has that flare that gets you lifting one hand to the heavens in worship.  

Nothing makes a better listening experience than a rapper with that one tone of his own style. Church blends his style sonically well with what most Zed Artists on the Zed Music scene are familiar with, vernacular bars. Church holds nothing back on which artist he chooses to do a track with. Guest appearances with some of Zed’s topping artist of the likes of Jay Rox and Israel fka Exile was a genius move and ear-seeking-listen. It’s totally impressive and amazing how Church still maintains his lane and brings out these artists in the light; another whole purpose of what really church should be, unity. Jay Rox comes in mostly on the house-hyped tracks “Battle” and “Nasumina” and just brings the fire on the mic with thought provoking lines not many would expect if you only know him for hit songs like “Auto Pilot” and “Joanna”! For this, I madly and humbly salute Church. No matter who boxes him on this move they will have to come to terms with it that this is what church should be, Jesus is for everybody.

I’ve had my share of many listens of Church on Christian anthems and had always appreciated his vibe and energy. Knowing his capabilities and stance on the Zed Christian Hip Hop genre, Church closes up the tape with that brazen thumped buzz on the song “Ama Christian”. Conclusively, this song just summed the concept all up in one line “I’m a Christian, Katolika (Catholic) olo (or) Pente (Pentecostal)”. We are called to minister and we serve one God. Regardless of denomination, we are on the same team and have one mission statement.

Conceptually, #ThisIsChurchMixtape holds its own ground. The tape has a sound that everyone can jive and listen to. Songs are not biased and typical of what you’d expect from a common Christian point of view. The tape is an inviting piece of art delivery. If I could point flaws or one, if any on this tape, it would just be some features sounding a little copied to the common artist on a global scale and that auto tune. I could have sworn I nearly heard a Chris Brown sound-alike. Not that it’s a major problem, I just believe art should have its own form of creativity and many Christian artists have been labeled for bootlegging styles.  That said, Church is not one I’d box in this “label”. He stands out on his own and deserves a shot to get his message heard.

Concept: 5/5

Production: 5/5

Creativity: 4/5

Lyrics: 4/5

Delivery: 4.5/5

Kountapoint Ratings: 4.5/5

 

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