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Truth Is Fallin' In Tha Streetz

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Oct
Truth Is Fallin' In Tha Streetz
Sounds like … several hip-hop styles, from East Coast "streetness" and West Coast old-school simplicity to deep-fried crunk and underground flavor, plus everything in betweenAt a glance … If it ain't broke, why fix it; Fresh I.E. repeats the formula that made his debut album a Grammy-nominated surpriseTrack Listing On These Steps (Poem) On These Steps World Vision Open Arms Flexin Crunk 4 Christ Don't Let Go Tha Light Don't Let Go Truth Is Fallin' in that Streetz O Jerusalm Bust Ya Head Open Desolate Lord! Glorify (remix) You Preserved Me (Poem) The Light (Outro) Lost Soulz (Remix)

Let me reintroduce you to Robert Wilson, better known as the one and only Fresh I.E. You know, the Canadian rapper guy who got nominated for a Best Rock Gospel Album Grammy in 2004 for his out-of-nowhere debut Red Letterz? Understandable if you don't, since it was an under-the-radar hip-hop effort that went unnoticed by the majority of the core gospel and Christian music audience. The album was actually pretty good, but limited availability made it lose its freshness in the public consciousness faster than you can say, "And the nominees are…" Yet amazingly enough, the recording academy has nominated him again for his sophomore effort, the equally obscure Truth Is Fallin' in the Streetz.

Like the first album, Streetz shows off Wilson's adaptability as an emcee, apparent in the dexterity with which the rapper switches styles. But where Letterz was also an exercise in pop/rock acrobatics, Streetz doesn't take as many eclectic detours, remaining more grounded in straightforward hip-hop. But this stylistic focus doesn't necessarily make the disc any more sophisticated or accomplished. The more purist, rap-heavy approach causes Fresh I.E. to stumble in spots, as in the skip-able "Crunk 4 Christ," where the rapper tries too hard to emulate the club flavor of Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz.

However, despite the few missteps, there are also a number of winning elements. The self-produced beats are by far stronger, punchier, and more complex than those heard on Fresh's debut, which oftentimes sounded too indie and underdeveloped. Wilson also takes a few more risks lyrically, relying less on verbatim biblical ideas and more on off-the-cuff rhyme schemes. Though this progress is certainly not enough to warrant Fresh I.E. a Grammy win, it undeniably places him on a taller artistic pedestal, perhaps silencing those who may not feel he's worthy of recognition from the Academy.

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