Christian rappers can be good. For examples, Cross Examination and KJ-52 both are pretty solid rappers, even when one takes the Christian element out of their music. Hunter Brown is interesting, and to say that ey is good or bad is a little confusing. The backing beat that is present during the title track is something that is solid, a beat that takes on the instrumental style of a number of classic rap tracks, while having a hint of the seventies present in its sound. Some of the flow is a little weak (the mention of basketball stars is a little hackneyed, and the mention of Shaq during “Raise Up!” brings individuals back into remembering Aaron Carter), but the flow itself is fairly strong.
There are not any segments during “Raise Up!” where it seems like Hunter is struggling or trying to find the next line, which is something that even more established rappers tend to struggle with. For the finale of the title track, the repetition of the hook is almost to the point that individuals will get tired, but a smart Brown lays back and lets the instrumentation take a dominant role in the last minute. The down-home, country feel of “In The Church” links Hunter Brown to both The Roots and Bubba Sparxxx, while relying most heavily on a gospel framework. The style present on this track is solid, but is diminished slightly but the poor production of the vocals on this track. This means that the vocals are obnoxiously loud, and push out what is really an interesting backing beat.
A minor stress fracture occurs in Brown’s flow during “In The Church”, in that the flow that ey is attempting to do is just too fast for the rapper. Perhaps a few more tries with the line in the studio, and the final sound would have been much more professional. “One Love” continues that trend of having interesting backing beats in Brown tracks (this beat sounds almost like that backing up Kirk Franklin during “Stomp”, or eir later 1NC works), and the style of Brown’s flow during this track even approaches that put forth by an early Snoop Dogg. This EP is a good first effort by Hunter Brown, and with a similar devotion with the next few discs, there is little doubt that Brown will find a large audience, both in and outside of Christian music.
Top Track: One Love
Hunter Brown – Raise Up! / 2006 M2 Productions / 4 Tracks / firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 28 April 2006