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The Journal, Vol. 1

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Jun
The Journal, Vol. 1
Sounds like … Tru-Life's Cross Movement cohorts and the street-smart work of Jay-Z, DMX, P. Diddy, and 50 Cent.At a glance … Tru-Life offers an album that's large on personal testimony and production quality.Track Listing You Left Your Book (Intro) Just Listen Right Here Steppin' Out This Is Your Life Get Back to Work (Interlude) Choices Productive Who He Is I'm Still Workin' Lunch Break (Interlude) If I Could We Have I Can't Wait Moments Revisit It Let's Talk (Outro)

The Journal is the latest in a string of solo releases hailing from the Cross Movement camp in recent months. Tru-Life is the latest member to step up to the mic, and that itself makes this disc a little different from the other projects in the saga.

It so happens that Tru-Life's first love is not emceeing; for years, he has been the rhythmic glue holding the Cross Movement together as far as beats are concerned. Though his background with the hip-hop conglomerate has in fact endowed him with a very respectable flow, the rapper's clear forte is his ability as a producer, and that's the one quality that The Journal makes perfectly clear. Call it a sudden rush of rhythmic inspiration or intentional hoarding on Tru-Life's part, but this set features the "crunkest," most aggressive production from any of the most recent Cross Movement-related releases.

From the street anthems "Just Listen" and "Right Here" to the Latin-flavored excursions of "Steppin' Out," Tru-Life is simply at the top of his game, with beats that have nothing to envy the more extravagant fare coming from his mainstream peers. Outside of the bangers, Tru-Life also excels at the smoother, more soulful compositions ("Choices," "I'm Still Workin'"), all of which document his spiritual walk and his penchant for getting the word out about Jesus. That's basically the thematic marrow of this rapper's Journal, an album that's not as theologically dense as those of his ministry colleagues, but that's still testimonial and aesthetically muscular enough to warrant a strong recommendation.

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