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Chronicles: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Aug
Chronicles: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
Sounds like … Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, L.A. Symphony, Tunnel Rats and other articulate, deep-rolling, street-smart hip-hop collectivesAt a glance … not exhaustive but otherwise right-on-the-money, Chronicles is a near-perfect recapitulation of the life and times of the Cross Movement's five-album trajectoryTrack Listing Who's Da Man Shock! Cypha' the Next Day Eyes off Me (Rophi) The Rescue What Do You See Know Me (Huh, What?) (Remix) On the Move C to the R (Remix) Rise Up (Remix) It's Going Down (Remix) Forever (Remix) Lord You Are Da Truth Iz The Drawing Board

Within the limited annals of Christian hip-hop, The Cross Movement may not possess the name recognition and marquee value of, say, GRITS or L.A. Symphony, but their contributions to this still-growing genre are undeniable. Over the course of nine years and five albums, the rap conglomerate has amassed more club-worthy material than those two groups combined, all the while never compromising on street cred, deft lyricism, or their unabashed stance on gospel truth.

To commemorate this continuous marriage of faith, rhythm and rhyme, The Cross Movement has issued Chronicles: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, an anthology that's both an intermission and an introduction—an intermission because it's the group's first greatest-hits bookend before an actual studio album; an introduction because it's the ideal set to initiate new listeners to the groundbreaking hip-hop crew. Although unusually titled—radio hits are quite elusive in the realm of Christian hip-hop—these are without a doubt some of the group's biggest jams.

All of the songs are presented chronologically, which aids in tracing the squad's progression from an underground, Golden Era rap collective to a crew that grew more and more hardcore and commercial in sound as the years went by. It's indeed an interesting metamorphosis—from such indie-rap gems as "Cypha' the Next Day" and "Eyes off Me (Rophi)" to the party-rap vibe of anthems "Know Me (Huh, What?)" and "It's Going Down," it's almost as if we're listening to two different groups.

It's too bad the compilers chose remixes over originals for such classics as "Know Me," "C to the R" and "Forever," but in these incarnations these tracks are still hot—maybe not as sizzling as when they first surfaced, but blazing nonetheless. The only major omission would the iconic fist-pumper "I Am That I Am," but other than that, Chronicles is still a near-perfect collection of hits from one of music's most underrated Christian hip-hop crews.

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