John Reuben has been a major factor in the Christian rap scene for over five years now, and “Sing It Like You Mean It” is an interesting track. The backing beat for that track is similar to the surf music of the sixties, without much in the way of current instrumentation to keep a current sound. Reuben continues almost the same flow of “Sing It Like You Mean It” during “Trying Too Hard”. I can understand having the same general style throughout some of the disc’s track as it is a good way to build continuity, but having the exact same flow without much in the way of things changed is just asking for trouble.
This rut that Reuben finds eirself in finally dissipates during “Make Money Money”. In this track ,there is a much more Southern influence to Reuben’s approach and it is this infusion of different styles that puts the disc back on the right route. “Focus” is another track that allows Reuben to change up eir style slightly, but even the inclusion of a more industrial type of backdrop is not able to make the track or Reuben’s slow all that more catchy. Reuben is a Christian rapper, and I would presume that the goal of a Christian rapper is to get new converts to the faith. If the songs aren’t catchy, can Reuben have the same effect on the masses?
Would it not be a better idea to get a song that is kosher with Christian philosophy and has the crunkest beats to get individuals into the church or am I missing something? “Miserable Exaggeration” has a flow that almost breaks free of the funk in which Reuben has mired eirself throughout the entirety of the disc. I know that Reuben is capable of tracks that can get stuck in listeners’ heads (just recall “Do Not”, off of Reuben’s “Are We There Yet?”), but with few exceptions, this disc does not shine with the same allure as other Reuben discs. There are some tracks toward the end of the disc that are a little more interesting (such is the case with the more rapid flow of “Universal”), but these tracks are few and far between. Here’s to hoping that Reuben can bounce back with eir next album, as I know ey can and even the best rappers have their off moments. Pick the disc up if you are a completist.
Top Tracks: Universal, Word of Mouth
John Reuben – Word of Mouth / 2006 Gotee / 10 Tracks / http://www.johnreuben.com / http://www.gotee.com / Reviewed 23 January 2007