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Sounds like … a lively hip-hop mix of Cross Movement, Busta Rhymes, and Da' T.R.U.T.HAt a glance … straight-up theology sometimes gets buried in the bombastic production, but Our World Redeemed is still a worthy sequel to its predecessorTrack Listing Flash Back Funeral to Birthday Go Buck Who Can Pluck Us It's You Confession Hold On I Been Redeemed On That Cross See More Him Intro See More Him Power in Your Name Drama of Redemption It's all Gon' Pass 2nd Coming Joyful Noise
The mood is appropriately triumphant on Our World Redeemed, the more hopeful counterpart to last year's decidedly apocalyptic Our World: Fallen from FLAME. Picking up the story from where he left off the last time around—when FLAME's fictional non-believing friend gets saved—the rapper is now giving his new brother in Christ the CliffsNotes on Christian living. For interested seekers, FLAME spells out exactly what he's rhyming about in the liner notes, a helpful companion for those not acquainted with the intricacies of the Christian faith. But for those who aren't exactly follow-along types, some of the message may get lost in translation.
Despite the disc's hopeful message and surprisingly current beats (as opposed to embarrassingly dated), something still seems a little off. No one's going to quibble with a healthy dose of theology found in undeniably catchy tracks like the John 10:28-inspired "Who Can Pluck Us" or the poignant reminder in "I Been Redeemed" of what sinners have ultimately been saved from. However, the overly slick production and thumping musical beds often distract from the message on this album, most apparent on the flashy strains of "Go Buck," a track that's cool enough for a party, but glaringly out of place here.
As FLAME says toward the end of the album, "It's All Gon' Pass." There's still enough substance on Our World Redeemed to recommend it, especially "Funeral to Birthday" with its illuminating imagery of Jesus' death birthing new life, and "Hold On" explaining how suffering is a necessary prerequisite for the most abundant blessing. Thoughtful messages like these are what ultimately redeem a project that, at times, favors style over substance. Yet FLAME's perspective on the Christian life is refreshingly realistic, contrasting the ups of our spiritual walk with the downs, which should be music to the ears of believers both old and new.