The storyline for Applejaxx’s “Databass” reads as such: “In the system of life, there are glitches that try to stop our progression. In a world of technological advances, a body of believers fight to find their born identity in the battle against U.N.I.T.E. In this episode, there appears the delegate known as Applejaxx. A person chosen from a bove to follow the great commission given by the most high.” You probably either think this concept is really cool, or simply pretentious. “Databass,” the mixtape before Applejaxx’s album of the same name, doesn’t really come off as either. Instead, it’s a reminder of just how hard it is to make a concept album or convincing Christian hip hop, especially at the same time.

Think of as many great hip hop songs as you can that center around praising Jesus. Chances are, you can count them on your fingers, and at least a couple are by Dark Man X. Rest assure that it’s not because people aren’t trying; there’s just something inherently corny about Jesus in hip hop. Applejaxx attempts to instill his beliefs into his rhymes on “Databass,” but unfortunately fails to do so in a captivating manner. “Supastarz” bottoms out from the beginning, with a hook as banal as, “Got the girls on the flo’ sayin’ I’m a superstar // the only real one is Christ the superstar.”

Although Applejaxx is clearly well-educated and his lyrics are fundamentally sound, his flow and content give the impression that he’s imitating other rappers rather than emceeing naturally. On the title track, Applejaxx forces vocabulary into his rhymes in such magnitude that it could only be pulled off by the likes of Mr. Lif. Meanwhile, tracks like “Barcode” and “Hybrid” add no more to post-apocalyptic theory than can be learned in a page of Brave New World or 1984. Of the few quality songs, “Apple Drops” sports T Bizzy’s simple but effective guitar riffs. Applejaxx rides the beat fittingly, but can’t come up with a hook that rises above rhyming “apple drops” with “grab all ya socks.”

One cannot fault Applejaxx for attempting so much on his mixtape, but there’s not much expectation that “Databass: The Album” will be much more successful in its ambitions. Though a capable fundamental lyricist, Applejaxx is a reminder that there’s a lot more to rapping than writing, and a lot more to quality than concept.

Applejaxx :: Databass: The Mixtape