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  The Local, an EP
Artist: Bone Circus
Label: Independant Release
Length: 10 Tracks/35:16

Straight out of Midlothian, Texas comes a godsend to Christian music.  Sean Patrick and Eric Craddock collectively known as Bone Circus are that godsend. Their music can best be described as old school rap with an attitude.  Their sound is reminiscent (but not ripping off) of the Beastie Boys with a dose of the Avalanches.  Upon listening to  Bone Circus, one is struck by their sheer passion, passion of life, music, and God.  The trap that most Christian rap artist fall into is sounding too out dated, like they are six years behind in the rap game.  The Circus' sound though will ring true to any fan of hip hop today or years from now because they didn't try to copy the latest trend in this genre of music, instead they have studied the music of the past, one can tell they've soaked in the styles of the great MC's of yesterday (KRS One, Dougie Fresh, etc) and fused that with their own unique blend of hip hop.  Their lyrics while Christ centered but aren't preachy or "corny" instead they are creative and irresistibly catchy.

The album for the most part harkens back to the days where rappers free styled on streets with nothing but a jukebox and a head full of rhymes.  "All I Need" the fourth track is a great example of this.  Patrick and Craddock take turns "tickling" the listeners ears with lines such as "drop the dead weight and relax in God's grace."  What stands out most about the lyrics on this record is the honest and self-aware words that are found throughout.  In the opening number "The Locals" such awareness is on display, try to find another group that will be more honest than this, "our shows never sell out so come get a front row seat."  It's lines like these that draw the listener in because you can see the band is not putting on any airs, they have let their guard down to allow you to join them in worshipping our Lord.  Few artist are willing to make this sacrifice, to affect your audience you must get down to their level and since none of us have it together, we connect with those who are willing to admit this.  The honesty continues in "20K Leagues Under Emcees" Bone Circus laments their struggle in not totally submitting to God, a daily struggle we all face to give Him a hundred percent, "and not this ten percent." The stand out track on this EP is "The City" a social commentary on inner city life.  It deals with the vast lifestyles between the haves and have-nots, homelessness, the wastefulness of mankind, and our own ungratefulness.  You can almost feel your soul weep as the following line pours out of your stereo, "they need food and I can't even clean my plate."

All in all this is a solid release.  Even though this is an indie release the production of the beats still come across clean and crisp.  If Patrick and Craddock keep this up the record industry will have no choice but to sign them.  Most hip hop bands are all about self-promotion and singing about the good life, the Bone Circus distances themselves from this image and chooses to promote our risen Savior and our desperate need for His forgiveness without compromising artistic integrity.  School is back in session so don't be late for your class in Hip Hop 101 with your professors Sean and Eric and don't forget to do your homework and pick up this album ASAP.

Aaron C. Anderson  7/31/2004

In addition to writing for Phantom Tollbooth, Aaron also independently writes poems, devotionals and more about the human condition. To read more of his writings or order some of his books go to:


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