- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2001 1 Jan
For fans of Christian rap, Peace 586 probably needs no introduction. But for the sake of the uninitiated—this guy is a pioneer of the Christian rap genre who's been creating music for 15 years. His name is derived from the month and date he was saved, at which point he started his career in Christian rap with well-known artists (and long-time friends) Sup the Chemist and LPG. One of the integral members in the rap group Freedom of Soul as well as The Tunnel Rats, Peace 586 also has done extensive production work for the likes of Future Shock, Jon Gibson, Crystal Lewis, T-Bone, and Brainwash Projects (featuring Pigeon John and Btwice of LA Symphony). In 1996, he released his first solo album,
Believers will be happy to note that 586 is spiritually overt in its lyrical content. The opening track, "586," is Peace 586's response to his absence for the last few years, and gives props (i.e. pays respect) to several other Christian hip-hop acts that are making a difference these days. It also acknowledges the late, great producer/artist Gene Eugene, who mentored Peace 586 and honed his production skills. The album is in fact dedicated to Gene, and the song "You Here" (featuring Sup the Chemist) pays tribute to Gene's friendship and faith. Peace and Sup rap, "You here in the hearts, in the rhymes/ You here, even though you're gone, we know you here." The song "Tru'ndeed" is a simple and effective testimonial to Peace 586's Christian faith, and "itchin" refers to the temptation to follow the sinful ways of the world rather than run the race set before us by Christ. It also alludes to the desire for unbelievers to hitch a ride into the kingdom without coming to know Christ.
This is a well done hip-hop album, but it doesn't feature enough hooks to attract the casual hip-hop listener. Almost all the songs have the same tempo, lending a homogenous sound to the album. They can be distinguished by the instrumentation (sound samples) used, such as the piano and bass in "itchin" or the dark strings of "Reasons." Still, Peace 586 doesn't vary the loops and the beats enough to hold your attention unless you're really into the hip-hop genre. The album's standout track, "Peace of Praise"—unusual in that it's the only non-hip-hop track of the album—is a Spanish-flavored acoustic guitar solo over hip-hop beats. A beautiful track, I might have liked it better midway through the album, rather than the end, to break up the monotony of the sound.
586 may not be a breakthrough hip-hop album, but it's nevertheless a good one. I don't think there's enough here to make waves and advance the Christian rap movement (unlike, for example, the upcoming project from LA Symphony), but I do think this will appeal to hip-hop fans, Christian and non-Christian alike. The lyrics are evangelical, but said in a way that's accessible to those who have spiritual questions and are looking for answers. In that sense, Peace 586 is successful with his new album, continuing to fight the good fight and hopefully win young listeners to Christ one at a time.