I'm not sure where the "Soldier's Story" part of this EP comes from. Paradox is not a soldier, and he certainly isn't telling a story. He definitely falls under the category of "Christian Rap," due to the squeaky-clean themes and frequent mentioning of God. I'm not one to assume that the title "Christian" attached to a hip-hop project means "whack," but here it definitely does. I have heard good Christian Rap, and it sounds pretty much the same as other types of good hip-hop. The problem with "Nice New Life: A Soldier's Story" lies not within the subject matter, but in the quality of music.
The rapping on this album isn't bad, exactly, there's just nothing at all interesting about it. Paradox sounds like he's reading off of notecards, and his rhymes are plainly simple. Everything is strictly by the numbers. He hardly ventures at all from uninspiring, flatly delivered rhymes about God. If Paradox had any semblance of a unique voice or presence on the mic, his lyrics would be more interesting. The relatively frequent guests don't stand out any more; if they are talented they don't display it here.
The production is mostly done by the artist. This is the most perplexing part of the EP. Paradox has an extremely unique style that is supposed to sound like southern bounce, only it comes off as more simplistic and lifeless. I don't know what equipment he used to construct the music, but the result is pretty rough. Aside from "Nice New Life" and "Heat," which sound completely different from the rest of the EP, it can be described as Christian bounce. If the music were executed well, that combination of bounce and religion still wouldn't sit right with me. However, since the beats and rhymes are all decidedly amateur, this "Soldier's Story" falls completely flat.
Without regard to the subject matter contained, it will always be difficult to craft a quality album without a strong voice. That is what Paradox does here. Powerful beliefs and convictions don't always translate to musical success, and this is abundantly clear on this EP. He seems to be speaking from the heart, but without nice rhymes or even a distinctive delivery, it all goes for nothing. The abominable production doesn't help things, either. I've heard Christian Rap done well, but even if it's your thing, don't look for it here.
Music Vibes: 4 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 3 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 3.5 of 10
Originally posted: September 7, 2004