Louder is the new EP from the 29th Chapter, the UK’s best know Christian hip-hop band. The whole theme is that the message of this release is going to be heard louder than any of their previous releases, that they are aiming for the mainstream. That comes across in the opening song where they sing “You’re going to hear us on the radio.” They want the whole world to know the Gospel message that inspires their lyrics.
And with Louder you get a sense that it could just happen. Musically it is good enough for the mainstream – in my opinion if N-dubz can make it big there is no reason why this album, which has
musical similarities with the N-Dubz style of hip-hop, can’t. Certainly this is one of the few openly Christian CDs I wouldn’t be ashamed to recommend to non-Christian friends.
Lyrically this album covers ground that no other Christian or secular album does, which is great – it’s not just about the same old clichéd things. The growing problem of knife crime in the UK is condemned (whereas much of secular hip-hop is seen, at least in certain newspapers, to promote knifecrime), the problem of NEETs (people who are not in employment, education, or training) brought up and people challenged to do something worthwhile with their life. In addition to this the issue of a lack of father figures in many of today’s single parent families is tackled too.
While musically this is a great album, and lyrically very diverse compared to most Christian albums, I down have a couple of minor complaints. Having seen 29th Chapter play live a couple of months ago, the best songs where the anthemic sing a longs, and after several listens to Louder there are no songs that stand out to me as ones that will match the likes of Underdogz (from their last release) when performed live. The other flaw I have with Louder is that in some songs are dragged out for a bit long, and would have been better if kept shorter. Overall it is a good album, it has some great thought provoking lyrics, but with a few tweaks and one of two more big crowd songs it could have been a great album. As it is, it is still one of the best non-worship UK Christian albums.
All4God Rating – 7.5/10