Filed under: Album Reviews
Although the vast scale of hip hop means that the music is inevitably broken down into numerous sub-genres, the category of ‘Christian Hip Hop’ has always filled me with a vague sense of dread. The thought of somebody ramming their religious ideologies down my throat is not exactly desirable, and as such, the tag often has the effect of putting me off a work. The Boogiemonsters do fall into this sub-genre, and the religious aspect is more present on their second release ‘God Sound’ than on their classic debut, but it avoids being overly preachy and although it is not an astonishing album, it is well worth a listen.
The group are perhaps best well known for their single ‘Recognized Thresholds of Negative Stress’ and deservedly so. This is a fine example of mid ’90s hip hop at its best, and although it was the clear album highlight, the rest of the release kept pace with a chilled, summery vibe and well delivered verses.
Their sophomore release is definitely not as strong, losing the sense of fun that categorised the first album in favour of a darker, more monochrome sound, but in places this does work well. ‘The Beginning Of The End’ has some tight rolling drums and brooding samples that make for an effective album opener. ‘Whoever You Are’ has a spacious feel and some atmospheric strings, and ‘Whistles In The Wind’ has a seriously laid back flava with echoing rim hits and, you guessed it, some whistling. These tracks are the highlights for me, and I rarely delve much deeper into the album. The beats lack impact overall and I do not feel that there is enough to keep a listener engaged properly over the album in its entirety.
MCs Vex and Mondo are effective on the mic, with nice flows and intelligent lyrics, but as with some of the beats, there is something lacking here that means my attention is not completely held. Don’t get me wrong, their deliveries are accomplished, but if you asked me to detail their work content-wise, I would struggle to tell you as the verses do not demand that you take notice. There are of course references to their religious beliefs, but thankfully these do not feel overly preachy and avoid detracting from the quality of the album in some places, although as already mentioned, this is rather spasmodic.
If you are expecting something as good as ‘The Underwater Album’ then you will be inevitably disappointed, but there are moments on ‘God Sound’ that warrant a good listen. This is intelligent hip hop that despite its shortcomings will reward you in small doses. Enjoy.