Pardon me for being such an anally-retentive stickler, but I have always been of the opinion that religion and music should be wholly separate from one another. While I certainly harbor my own religious reservations/faith and adhere to my own principles in a fiercely adamant fashion, somehow I find the idea of broadcasting/advocating religion via musical expression rather evangelical and distasteful. Somehow, I find music, as a highly individualistic and personal medium, and religion, a concept which largely hinges on dogmatic indoctrination, to be largely incongruous with one another. Religion and faith, from my standpoint, have always been intensely personal, subjective things that shouldn't be broadcast via musical avenues.
Rant aside, it is obvious that the folks at The Body are in stark disagreement with my vehement anti-dogma stance, with everything from their somewhat tacky album cover (what on earth is with the ‘divine' auras surrounding each group member) to their unimaginatively named record label (Get Gospel Records) throwing up red flags for bible-burning blasphemers. Musically, this isn't far removed from much Christ-inclined rap that I've heard- that is to say, a more positive-minded, spiritual take on more popular (read: violent/misogynistic sounds).
Stunningly, all the hallmarks of commercial rap are accounted for here, so listeners looking to make the transition from secular music to The Body won't be missing out on a whole lot- you have a G-Unit-flavored trunk rattler (complete with 50 Cent replica 02:28 through the track) on “The Entrance”, a staple club joint (“The Body”), a misguided attempt to milk the Southern rap cash cow (which endeavors to fuse La Chat/Gangsta Boo type syncopation with a Sleepy Brown-esque sung hook), a stab at introspective, soul-searching balladry (“Rejoice”), a positive, anti-hate take on modern hardcore rap (“God's Army”), grim Three Six graveness (“Real Life Part 2”), blatant Tupac emulation (“Imagine”), haphazard dancehall/rap fusion (“The Body Part 2”), Roc-A-Fella bombast (“Heaven”). Any musical merit exhibited here is thoroughly undermined by the conscientiously calculated contrivance on show- through the course of 15 tracks, the group appear disturbingly intent on plundering each and every trend that has graced urban radio airwaves in recent years, merely providing a spiritual alternative instead of offering a revelatory musical product. For someone searching for a spiritually-minded replica of today's BET darlings, The Body would quite adequately fill that niche. For anybody else, this is, for the most part, utterly inessential.
I don't know what's more offensive, 50 Cent expounding gun use and drug trafficking, or The Body ceaselessly advocating the glory of Christ through the same musical template. The collective talents of this group (which are quite considerable…they can write a decent hook and each flaunt competent, well-structured flows) are thoroughly marred and obscured by the ill-advised intentions of the project- to provide a sterilized, vapid and irritatingly moralistic adversary to today's bling-bling-blam-blam redundancy, while asserting a spiritual aloofness/arrogance that is every bit as annoying as gangsta rap's stale smugness. Unless you have a hankering for Christian rap, avoid.
Music Vibes: 5.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5.5 of 10
Originally posted: August 23, 2005