Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Ambassador: Stop the Funeral Review

Hip-hop has always been a hit-and-miss with me, but The Ambassador’s Stop the Funeral is an exception. Cross Movement’s William “Duce” Branch is back with his fourth solo project after a three year hiatus, and this project serves as his first album on Xist Records. Stop the Funeral speaks loud and clear with a reminder that Christ has resurrected us from spiritual death, and also acts autobiographical, telling in several of the fourteen tracks, his testimony of being saved through God’s grace.

Opening with techno effects, and adding an electronic effect to the vocals, “A-M” is completely full, speaking of how Christ is alive and speaks of His glory, being based on Isaiah chapter 6. “Get With Us,” featuring Sean Simmonds containing more pop drums, encouraging the listener to “get with us, get real” – to be more serious for the kingdom of God. The lyrics of The Ambassador’s lyrics, as obvious already, are quite amazing.

“Mind Made Up” is autobiographical, but speaks of having your mind made up in the things of God. “Pop Pop Pop” follows, and as its name implies, is quite poppy and fun sounding. However, things get even better with the radio single “Up Down,” featuring Aussie singer Charmaine. In my opinion, her angelic vocals fit this hip-hop/pop track perfectly, as she and The Ambassador talk about the ups and downs in life, and how Jesus is always the same through them. They remind us that things will always get back to normal, so keep holding on to Jesus even when things are down. Lyrically, and musically, this track was definitely my favorite from Stop the Funeral, and it was awesome hearing Charmaine on this joint.

“Favor” takes an interesting twist lyrically, speaking of how God saved this hip-hop artist, and how God has given favor through grace – not fancy cars, diamond rings, or friends. “Bring You Out,” featuring Melissa T singing a monotonous, yet very enjoyable chorus, speaks of how when your hope is in Jesus Christ, He will bring You out of your crazy situations: “And when they ask me how I’ve overcome, I’ll tell them that Jesus is the only One…”

“Talk This Way” is extremely creative lyrically, as The Ambassador speaks of the problems in our life, but talks of how our MESS becomes a MESSAGE when grace comes in! Jessica Reedy appears on “Crumbs,” where the story of the Syrophoenican woman is retold, telling how she begged for the crumbs that fell from her Master’s table. Mali Music appears in “Trust In You,” speaking of trusting in Jesus by each moment, as its name implies.

“Nothing Like You,” sounding much like KJ-52, was a treat, featuring both Charmaine and new BEC Recordings artist Ryan Stevenson, as the trio sings of how amazing God is, and how He has set us free. This is a track that fans of alternative rock will likely want to check out due to the creative combination. “Your Love,” a hip-hop worship anthem, continues the message of the proceeding track, speaking of how the Judge has set us free and declared us innocent. Verse two also features KJ-52, which was a special treat! This track is also where the album Stop the Funeral finds its meaning.

“Put It Down,” featuring synthetic effects was somewhat chaotic, but is followed by the closing track titled “The Reunion Cypha,” featuring quite a handful of familiar hip-hop acts: God’s servant, J.A.Z., shai linne, C-Lite, Cruz Cordero and DJ Wade-O of Summarizing the lyrics found throughout Stop the Funeral, of God’s grace and atonement for our sins, this song closed the album perfectly.

Though I’m not always a fan of hip-hop, The Ambassador’s Stop the Funeral was a very enjoyable listen for me. The amazing lyrics, the enjoyable pop twist to most of these tracks, and the guest vocalists made Stop the Funeral an awesome hip-hop project. If you’re a fan of hip-hop, you will definitely want to check out this project – it’s one of the best in the genre!

Rating: 4/5
Release date: July 12, 2011

Track listing:
1. A-M
2. Get With Us (Featuring Sean Simmonds)
3. Mind Made Up
4. Pop Pop Pop
5. Up Down (Featuring Charmaine)
6. Favor (Featuring Canton Jones)
7. Bring You Out (Featuring Melissa T)
8. Talk This Way
9. Crumbs (Featuring Jessica Reedy)
10. Trust In You (Featuring Mali Music)
11. Nothing Like Us (Featuring Ryan Stevenson and Charmaine)
12. Your Love (Featuring KJ-52 and Michelle Bonilla)
13. Put It Down
14. The Reunion Cypha

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