Ok, check it. This is Christian Hip-Hop / Rap artist Tedashii’s second solo album hitting not too long after Lecrae dropped his Rebel album, the first was Kingdom People. Rebel broke all kinds of records with iTunes and Billboard regarding Christian hip hop. It truly legitimized the genre like no album before it, as if it really needed any further legitimization. So the questions for Tedashii and Identity Crisis are will there be a repeat of Lecrae’s success? Will the album maintain the dominance of Reach Records or will we have a real crisis of identity? T’Dot has received more, if not equal, fanfare in some circles than Lecrae. Most of the people I know have been on the edge of their seats awaiting this project despite having only mild leaks on a couple of the tracks and mild promotion. This was unlike the promotion-heavy Rebel, though people did seem at least equally excited for that release.
My guess? No, it won’t match Rebel’s success because it just isn’t as good or as well rounded. Of course that’s like saying Kobe Bryant isn’t as good as Lebron James. Many will disagree and either way you’re going to get 25-50 points a game and a winning season as well as a potential title. So who cares if it’s not as good as Lecrae’s project, because there are still few other albums that have been released or will be released this year that are going to equal Identity Crisis.
So let’s talk about some of the differences. There is the fact that there are actually only 15 tracks on Identity Crisis with no bonuses, or hidden tracks, or anything like that. That number also includes the intro to the banging single, 26s ft. Lecrae, and the even hotter ‘album intro.’ – Side bar…at what point in time did album intros become so darn hot?! All I can say is Praise God for that! But I digress. Furthermore, the 3 “Identity” tracks are more like elongated musical interludes (We Fell is my favorite). Lecrae went a step further than anyone else by offering so much extra material with deluxe packages you could get on the Reach Records website, but nothing like that is offered with Tedashii’s album. Another difference is there is less experimentation and creativity musically and stylistically with this album. But give a guy a break huh, not everyone can rip everything in every way one can imagine, geez. Yet another difference, instead of Dwayne Tryumf being the track slayer on the lead single as it was with Lecrae, it is Steven the Levite featuring along with Sho Baraka on the high energy album closer Community. There was also the surprise disappearance of the label’s famed vocalist, Cam, despite the number of vocalists who do make the album. Oh, and the most obvious difference, Tedashii is on far more of these tracks that he was on with Rebel (I think that is an important difference, right?).
Technically, there is nothing really wrong with this album despite all of those differences. If there is a formula that can be made for putting an album together, this album is truly another great example. Each track just fits its spot and seems perfectly crafted and produced. The tracks seamlessly flow into each other like a proper mixtape but still give the necessary effect of being a true album. The only thing I would have liked a bit more of was the bass, which didn’t hit as hard as I had expected and hoped it would. But I’m a bass head, so it might be an unfair critique. Technically, this album is on point. It is everything one would expect from a Reach Records and a T’Dot product. However, if you’ve never been a fan of T’Dot or Reach Records, then there really isn’t anything new or special that would change your opinion. This is just the typical high quality sound and God-fearing message that T’Dot, the 116 Clique and Reach is known for.
When one looks across an album cover and track listing, certain tracks will jump out at some people as being tracks one would expect to be amazing and others…not so much. They’ll see the single 26’s featuring Lecrae and expect it to bang. They’ll see Make War with, I mean featuring, Flame and expect the same (despite what Flame says at the top of the track). They’ll see Gotta Believe and know it’s going to be a dope laid back track because Diamone is the feature. They’ll see Trip Lee on I’m A Believer and expect another hot track as well as with the closer, Community, with Steven the Levite and Sho Baraka. But it is those tracks with no features wherein a person looks at the title and has to guess and/or hope for a dope track or something that is really surprising. Some more analytical types might even have noticed that the first track with no feature is always a banger on 116 Clique albums and many others, especially if it’s either track 2 or 3. Thus, it is no surprise that I Work, the second track on the album, is off the chart. But what about the others?
For some unexpected standout tracks other than the album intro, how about we start with one where I know that “This is your song, boy; this is your song, girl.” I’m talking about Fresh which is one of those dope, – achem – sorry, “fresh” snap & two-step type joints that will truly be a B side banger. The best thing is that the quality and type of delivery, beat and sound alone would make this track perfection if it was a secular track in the secular market. But Holy Hip Hop reaches so far beyond the secular today, I believe, and this track is a prime example. Tedashii didn’t just stop at the perfect sound. No. Instead he laced the track with heavy, hard hitting, content driven lyrics, and lyricism which also happens to be a signature of the entire 116 Clique. So fresh and so clean, clean, now has a new meaning with Fresh my friends.
Another stand out is completely different in its sound, but similar in its quality. That track is the heavily melodic, vocally driven Thank You, which just happens to be the following track. This track has a mass appeal sound and even has serious video potential. The other impressive thing about these last two tracks is that Lecrae and the other heavy hitters aren’t featured on them, though there is a vocalist on Thank You who is not listed. Maybe that’s the seemingly absent Cam? Hmm, guess we’ll find out when the album drops, huh?
There are only a couple of points I think caused some misses with Identity Crisis. First, the album just feels really short. Maybe I’ve been spoiled recently with so many 16+ track albums. Maybe I just wanted more? Maybe there just weren’t as many bangers as I expected, though all tracks are quite good if not better? I’m not sure, but the album just seems to plow through very quickly and all of a sudden ends up back on track 1. The other miss, in my opinion, is the transition from the final identity track, Identity 3, to the final track of the album, Community. That transition just doesn’t seem to flow like the rest of the album does. It’s just a bit too abrupt; even moreso when you consider you have Steven the Levite leading off as well as the high energy of the track. It’s especially obvious since the previous track has so much less energy. But once you get one phrase into that final track, all aspects of the transition are forgotten. It’s just that initial effect of transitioning tracks that initially makes it feel awkward. At least it does for me. Ultimately, that is not really a major issue.
So what is my recommendation? Silly, why are you even asking? Isn’t it obvious? Download it, buy it at a store or on online because it’s Tedashii and it’s a banger! Do what ever you have to, just don’t copy it for or from somebody else. Support the ministries and the jobs of your fellow brothers in the Lord and put the world on blast that Christian hip hop is worth buying. We are buying it and so should they – and put in on their radio broadcasts too.
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Review by: DJ Guardian
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