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reviewed by Andree FariasCopyright Christianity Today International
Sounds like … Ohmega Watts, Sev Statik, FLYNN, Sivion, Pigeon John, and other faith-fueled hip-hop emcees that let their art do the talkingAt a glance … The IV Edition is not the second coming of hip-hop, but it's certainly a shot in the arm of a genre that's been aching for a booster for years alreadyTrack Listing Beautiful Humanity Submission Hold Calculated Risk TH IV Main Squeeze Remember Your Path Constantly Growing Blessed Man Many Stories Raise the Dead Many Stories Raise the Dead Double Dose Counter Attack Mental Guard (Snitch Blade) Get It Right Restless The Cure Addvice
For an under-the-radar indie backpacker, hip-hop emcee Braille has gone places. Before the release of The IV Edition, his fourth full-length, the rapper had already logged thousands of miles trekking all over the U.S., Europe, and Japan, opening for the likes of hip-hop legends De La Soul and the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. Then came a mention in URB magazine, which named him one of the "Next 100" artists to watch. Braille was all set for a breakthrough.
The IV Edition has already seen unprecedented exposure, thanks to a national publicity push by PR giant Mitch Schneider and a summer-long run on the Vans Warped Tour. By the sound of it, it's almost as if Braille anticipated these new avenues to share his art with the culture, creating an album as cosmopolitan as the locales he's visited in recent years.
To wit, producers from across the globe were asked to contribute to The IV Edition, and it shows in that the disc doesn't sound too underground, too indie, too Golden Era, too commercial, too avant-garde, or too much anything. Instead, the rhythmic beds encompass all of the above, with a distinct alternative vibe that'll likely appeal to a wide cross-section—from hardcore hip-hop heads to more casual, pop-leaning rap enthusiasts.
Thematically, Braille keeps things just as mixed—the album's title alone has four different meanings. He leaves no doubt as to Whom he's representing in "Blessed Man" and "The Cure," but he tries to deliver his convictions in a way that avoids falling on deaf ears. Rather, his raps expose an overall worldview through which he sees everything else—from his own place in hip-hop history to his mission as an emcee of faith. Both artistically and spiritually rewarding, The IV Edition is an album that grows more enriching with every listen.