The Outsiders is the latest project of Fadacy Music, the label that has been releasing Christian club rap for a several years. According to their website, "Inspired by the life of Jesus, our mission is to serve good food for the soul...We create art from scratch with authentic recipes to serve a message of hope and transformation. At Fadacy, our brand is focused on providing creative content thatís edifying and uplifting." Some of you might think that club rap and Christianity are two mutually exclusive things. Very few of the activities people get up to in the club would get a pastor's seal of approval. For the most part it is music to get drunk, high, and horny to. How do you insert a Christian message into music that is in its very essence all about sin?
The label's latest project, the Outsiders (not to be confused with the Outsidaz or Outsiderz), is made up of Applejaxx, Mr. Coldstone, Trini, and G & O. The group spits rhymes about Christ over hard-hitting club beats. It's an odd combination that isn't always successful, but sounds more convincing than you might think. I've heard and reviewed several of Applejaxx's albums and EPs over the years, and I've always had to give props to him for picking good beats and committing to his craft, even if I didn't always appreciate his metaphors or message. The Outsiders continues that trend with solid production and a strong Christian message.
"12:2" has stabbing synths over rattling high-hats. It's the kind of beat that usually accompanies rhymes about cars, hoes, drugs, and guns. The Outsiders, on the other hand, use it to rap about how Jesus saved them. When they say "let me see your twelve-two's up" they are referring to a passage in Romans and not a gun calibre or rims. It's one of the better songs on the album, largely on the strength of the beat and fierceness of the rhymes by Mr. Coldstone, Applejaxx, and Crossfire. "Toxic" is a decent bit of R&B club rap, with Applejaxx complaining that "the world is trying to give us french fries instead of cous-cous" and affirming that he has "99 problems but my faith ain't one." "Angle On It" is another track that succeeds because of its hard-hitting beat and Mr. Coldstone's able rapping.
"The Outsiders" suffers from the same problem of a lot of message music: the focus on the message means that the music suffers. The religious rhymes seem ham-fisted at times, or come off corny. It's hard to take lines like "Go hard for Jesus" seriously, even though its obvious that the artists are sincere. Trini, who has a fine singing voice and is a decent rapper, tries to do a Nicki Minaj on many of the tracks, complete with phony British accent. It doesn't work, and nor do the constant metaphors about organic food. I get that the label's goal is to be the organic equivalent to mainstream hip-hop's junk food, but they take the metaphor farther than it needs to go. On a personal note, this kind of synth-heavy dance music is not my thing to begin with, and even less so given that I am not a practicing Christian.
Listener's in Fadacy's demographic (ie. young Christian rap fans) will probably appreciate The Outsiders' combination of club-ready beats and church-ready rhymes. Even though I wasn't feeling what the Outsiders were putting down, even I had to admire their postivity and ability to make decent club rap.
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10
Originally posted: January 22nd, 2013