53. SFC: Phase III

(Brainstorm, 1992)
(Brainstorm, 1992)

This is the other early Christian rap record I hold in high regard and still find times when I just have to hear it again. And I thought SFC’s prior record, A Saved Man (In the Jungle) was good. But Phase III turns it up a notch, in terms of quality and edginess. One thing you noticed right away is the searing electric guitar on Hoods of Good, which is one of the best songs on the record.

And there are some fun samples on the Phase III. The female vocal on Music is My Life sounds great. It’s one of the top songs on the album, and features elements of funk and soul music. Another highlight is Kill the Spirit, a song with a great groove that is introduced with a clip of a pastoring preaching on the lead-up track called The Setting.

Also among the album’s best tracks are the fun Skanewpid and the freestyle jam DJ Dove, which begins with various stops on a radio dial that eventually tunes to the unforgettable voice of Wolfman Jack! Yup, SFC keep things interesting over the course of 20 tracks on Phase III, the group’s third record and last with the original crew. Alongside P.I.D.’s The Chosen Ones, Christian rap was doing alright thank-you-very-much at the turn of the ’90s.

TRACK LISTING:

1. Intro
2. Hoods of Good
3. Glory Halagroovin
4. Terror on Tape
5. Freedom in Captivity
6. One
7. What we Need
8. Music is my Life
9. Phase III
10. Unity
11. The Setting
12. Kill the Spirit
13. In the House
14. Swingin
15. Another One
16. Skanewpid
17. DJ Dove (The Minister of Music)
18. 113.3
19. Victory
20. More Skanewpid Stuff

LISTEN HERE:

http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Phase+III/4736388

58. P.I.D.: The Chosen Ones

(Forefront, 1991)
(Forefront, 1991)

Yes, rap music. On a list of rock records, this is somewhat of an anomaly. Truth is I like all kinds of music – rock, reggae, heavy metal, punk, hardcore, jazz, gospel and yup, rap. And P.I.D. (Preachers in Disguise) were one of the early Christian rap bands that were actually really good. And The Chosen Ones is a great record. For sure, Here We Are was P.I.D.’s groundbreaking record that brought credible rap to the Christian music industry. And I liked it, but The Chosen Ones is the record that came out just before I seen P.I.D. in concert and, as far as rap acts go, they were actually really, really good live.

And really, with D-boy, Dynamic Twins and Soldiers for Christ (SFC), there was some decent rap to listen to in the early ’90s. Now that (ahem) I’m quite a bit older, Christian rap has never been better with the likes of Tedaschi, Lecrae and Trip Lee. My son who hit double digits recently likes many of today’s Christian rap artists, which is good, cause those on the other side of the industry are incredibly foul-mouthed.

The Chosen Ones is packed with variety and the arrangements are a lot of fun. Grace begins with a swirling horns section. The Hour of Strong Delusions features a preacher shouting a gospel message to a driving beat. Get Under the Blood Stream has a jungle beat with gospel singing samples. Joy Like a River begins with organ, and moves along to a bouncy beat with the chorus sung by a gospel choir. Roots is a reggae jam. Yup, lots of variety. And when P.I.D. straight up raps, they rock. Abstruction is the best track on the record, with some great low-end bass and alternated rapped lines by Barry G. (Hogan), Fred Lynch and K-Mack the Knife. Get You A Bible is also top-notch stuff. All in all, The Chosen Ones is a solid record that combines some incredible rapping and lyrical know-how, with a wealth of interesting beats. It’s definitely worth a listen.

TRACK LISTING:

1. The chosen ones – part one
2. Grace
3. Hey oh
4. The book
5. Abstruction
6. Authority
7. The hour of strong delusions
8. Victim of the system
9. Your’s truly
10. Get you a bible – D-Boy Remix
11. Get under the blood stream
12. License 2 kill
13. 15 Degrees in Detroit
14. Joy like a river
15. Progression
16. K-Mack the Knife (Soul Fingers)
17. The chosen ones – part two
18. Roots
19. 3rd degree burns
20. The chosen ones – instrumental

LISTEN HERE:

http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/The+Chosen+Ones/8459296