I love Christian music. I grew up in a house where The Clark Sisters, Walter Hawkins, James Cleveland, The Winans family and, Richard Smallwood were the soundtrack to my life. In my teens, I discovered Christian Hip Hop in the form of the A1 Swift, Gospel Gangstaz, Platinum Souls, Bruthaz Grimm, Cross Movement, Prime Minister, Lil Raskull, Antonius and the rest of Grapetree records.
Please believe me when I say I love this subgenre. I rode hard for Cross Movement records, for Reach Records, Collision Records etc., but with that said, Christian hip hop's mainstream just hasn't been that good for the past few years. There are a lot of reasons for that, one of which is the obsession with the trap sound. Desiigner isn't the only artist out here making a living off trying to imitate Future.
It has become increasingly hard, as of late, to find good Christian hip hop, so when I realized it was time for another review, I had to search hard for something good. The alternative is to review something bad, but my integrity requires that I would have to discuss just how bad it is and this probably is not the place to do that (I'll save that for my new show The Barbershop airing on Thirsty Soul Radio.....shameless plug).
So with that said, I searched hard and stumbled onto the group Middle Clash. Middle Clash is composed of Taelor Gray & Wes Pendleton. Wes is one of the most underrated producers and Taelor is extremely underrated as an artist in Christian hip hop.
Their EP, Layup Line, is only 10 minutes long, but from the very start it’s clear that they are going for their own sound and it's a breath of fresh air. The EP starts with” Bruce Banner”. Taelor Gray would make Sho Baraka proud with the way he comes out the gate telling the world what he is mad about. The range of topics he briefly touches on in under 2 minutes is extremely impressive. It’s definitely a track you will have to take several listens to. Next up is “Adventure Time”. Taelor is clearly in a zone, once again, as his flow goes over perfectly with the beat. “After These Messages” sounds like Dilla came back from the grave to bless this project with a beat. “Satisfy” has a beautiful sample, one that makes you think back to the old Kanye. The project ends with “Good Times” featuring Braxton Cook, which is another strong song.
This project was meant to serve as a prologue to an upcoming album, and for the first time in a while, I'm actually excited for an upcoming Christian Hip Hop album. It's available currently on bandcamp and soundcloud. I highly suggest checking it out.
About The Author
Kevin Hall is a father of two, son to one, and a friend to many. He is a native of Camden New Jersey but currently resides in Atlanta, GA. Kevin is a producer for 620 Music Group and self-described music connoisseur. @khall620