- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 1 Sep
- Our Time
- Gimme That Funk
- Keys to the Kingdom
- Bring the Party to Life
- I See You
- Critical Emergency
- I Had a Dream
- Live Out Loud
- Living the Life
With just one album, Group 1 Crew filled a big void in Christian music, and it didn't take long for people to embrace that impressive self-titled debut. The trio scored radio recognition, a Dove award in the hip-hop album category, and a rapport with pop lovers who wanted something similar to tobyMac, but with more emphasis on the hip-hop than the rock.
Without missing a beat, Group 1 Crew is back bigger and bolder than before.
Those looking to get their hip-hop fix, however, should look elsewhere:
Not that the sound isn't important. In fact, the quality of the tracks is so high, many of them are right on par with the best of today's urban pop, from the Kanye-meets-Daft Punk of "Living the Life," the crunk-ish "Movin'," the dizzying, multi-part "Gimme That Funk," and the summer-ready "Tonight." These party-starters are tempered by experimentation, like the robotic "iContact," the jazzy "I See You," the underground "I Had a Dream," and the club-friendly "Live Out Loud."
Some curveballs are even stranger, like the soaring pop/rocker "Closer." But then again, Blanca says she always wanted to be Mariah Carey growing up, so the song fits her stylistic inclinations like a glove, even if her emcee buddies are somewhat relegated to the background. If there's one slight thumbs-down against the trio, it's the occasional knack for saccharine melodies, patently noticeable in the Gwen Stefani-like "Change" and the Blanca-led "Our Time," both of which are too cloying to stand a chance in modern pop playlists.
Other than that,