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Are Hip Hop
Label: Gotee Records
Length: 10 tracks/40:44 minutes
Allow me to present to you a new compilation album, compliments of Gotee Records.
What Gotee has done is taken two songs from four of their hip-hop/rap artists and the record label’s owner. Then they threw them all on one CD and released it with a fairly low price tag (5 dollars CDN around here). Those artists, as you can see from the album cover, are tobyMac, Grits, Knowdaverbs, John Reuben, and DJ Maj.
The album definitely gives you a good feel of the genre it is promoting. Even though it is a few artists as opposed to one, it still flows quite nicely…with the exception of the two DJ Maj tracks, which sound a bit out of place.
Since basically all of these artists are Gotee’s, what I think would have made a great album is if they got all of them to record two new tracks as opposed to pre-recorded ones. Sure it may have been more work, sure it would have then been priced the same as other albums, but I can see it doing very well.
Nonetheless, We Are Hip Hop is an interesting diversion when it comes to compilation albums. Considering the price and the artist lineup, I would definitely recommend it to fans of the hip-hop genre.
Josh McConnell 09/25/02
In the mainstream culture Hip Hop has been leading the way for quite a while and it's taken Christian music a while to catch up with radio still struggling to get its head around the style, preferring anodyne pop to edgy Hip Hop. Although it's interesting to see how many artists have had their songs remixed this year into an edgier style to reach a wider audience.
Meanwhile Gotee have always seemed to have done their best to produce albums that support the growth of Hip Hop that carries a Christian message. Not always an easy job since the church has attacked Hip Hop with the same "guilty by association" piffle with which they first attacked rock music in the sixties. The gang associations of Hip Hop do make it difficult to market BUT the genre is perfect for carrying a radical message and there's nothing more radical than Hip Hop artists communicating their faith.
Here are ten tracks from five Gotee artists which give you the perfect opportunity to check out the genre and sample the latest albums from the five. For me, GRITS have always been the real deal, ever since their cruelly underrated debut album, the duo have continued to grow in vision and now create music that matches anything in the mainstream. Both tracks "Here we Go" and "Runnin'" are from their most recent album The Art of Translation
DJ Maj demonstrates the turntable skills that have made him such an important part of the Gotee family, whether it's contributing to the work of other artists or recording his own projects. The Full Plates Mixtape 002 album gave him ample opportunity to collaborate with other Hip Hop artists and celebrate his own skills. "Street Credibility" features Marrs Hill and "Reception" features Pigeon John, best known for his work with L.A. Symphony.
Perhaps it's the passion of label founder Toby Mac which has made Gotee such a big supporter of Hip Hop. The compilation features "Irene" and "Wonderin' Why" from his return to pure Hip Hop album Momentum. By any criteria Toby Mac is one of the most influential pioneers of Christian Hip Hop and one of the first to pitch it at the central zone of the Christian market, albeit by often marrying it to pop and rock styles.
The Knowdaverbs tracks are a preview of his new album The Champion Score which builds on the success of his first two albums and is characteristically 'Verbs though the tracks sound as if they could have been taken off his older albums.
When it comes to John Reuben, there's always a sneakin' suspicion in the back of my mind that he's trying a little bit too hard. I listen to "Thank You" but I'm not really hearin' it! I think secretly he'd like to be underground but finds himself inhabiting the poppier end of the scene. So what does he do? He sends himself up with a wry smile. "Doin'" is pure lightweight.
We Are Hip Hop is a good introduction to what the Gotee label has to offer and if you're after easy access, start here but for some of the best Christian Hip Hop you'll have to take a journey underground.
Mike Rimmer 11/2/2002