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Bone Appetit! Servin' Up Tha Hits!

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Sep
Bone Appetit! Servin' Up Tha Hits!
Sounds like … a combination of Snoop Dogg, Fat Joe, Black Eyed Peas, and KJ-52, for a truly eclectic hip-hop experience.At a glance … a marked difference in quality from album to album make Bone-Appetit! an uneven yet likable sampling of T-Bone's latter-day hits.Track Listing Follow T
Ride Wit Me
Sing Your Praises (English)
I Been Lookin' Around
That That Thang Go
Wipe Your Tears
Blazin' Mics
Can I Live?
Turn This Up
A Few Good Men
Shake Your Body
Raised in Harlem
King of My Life
Pentecostal Horse Racing (interlude)
Name Droppin'
Sing Your Praises (Spanish)

T-Bone has come a long way since his humble beginnings with Crystal Lewis' Metro One record label. Over the years, his hip-hop methodology has evolved by leaps and bounds, going from simplistic West Coast-styled hip-hop tales to a flamboyant mainstream rap sound that's been less about his embattled upbringing and more about his supposed rising status in music, movies, and television. He could very well be the reigning king of self-promotion in Christian hip-hop, yet he seems all right with that.

This rags-to-riches changeover was most noticeable in T-Bone's recent release Bone-A-Fide, easily his most accessible album yet as far as production goes. Sound-wise, it was as if the rapper was graduating to the big leagues, channeling less his California roots and more the production tactics of Fat Joe, Jay-Z, and other emcees with ties to the East Coast. T-Bone's tune changed lyrically as well, focused as much on promoting movie projects with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyoncé as on Jesus wiping life's tears away.

Bone-Appetit! Servin' up tha Hits! chronicles the emcee's six-year tenure at Flicker Records. The run comprises 2001's The Last Street Preacha, 2002's Gospelalphamegafunkyboogiediscomusic and 2005's Bone-A-Fide, which may not seem like a lot of source material to justify a best-of, but it does adequately document T-Bone's commercialization. Listen no further than the first two tracks—"Follow T" and "Ride Wit Me" for the whiplash effect; it's like listening to two completely different rappers.

Yet as uneven as it sounds, there's plenty to like here, particularly the brand-new "Sing Your Praises," a worshipful stewpot of styles and influences very similar to "King of My Life," another rarity that's also a welcome inclusion here. "I Been Lookin' Around" is too Kanye West for its own good, but its autobiographical frankness and production values are nonetheless irresistible. Collectively, Bone-Appetit! is a fair representation of T-Bone's latter-day glories, even though it remains to be seen whether listeners in the Christian music scene are truly eating up his music.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.