Hip-Hop has always had a “two ships in the night” relationship with Gospel and Inspirational music. From the desperate prayers of DMX on his debut album “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” to trailblazing worship leader Kirk Franklin’s use of Cheryl James (one third of the legendary group “Salt N Pepa”) on a verse of his hit single “Stomp.” Rap and Gospel are no longer doing business in a dark room in an attempt to avoid judgment from either side. Rappers like Lecrae have been steadily creeping in more mainstream radio station’s playlist. In this fashion artist Tim Ajayi offers us something for the grown and godly in his EP “Made For More.”
Strings and a playful guitar rift highlight “Into the Journey.” Tim flows about his faith, racial injustice, how loss leads to his benefit and how Christ’s sacrifice has made his life all the better. The guitar solo at the end was special! “What is Life” features some relaxed, and subdued production over chopping kicks and snares. Mr. Ajayi waxes poetics about being in a relationship with a significant other that has him so perplexed he asks “What is Life?” (I think we’ve all been there).
“Get Used to It” is a great song. The track sounds like late nineties Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) production. The emcee raps about his meager beginnings to his prosperous situation due to prayer and positivity. "Stay strapped with the bible/ So when it comes to words/ It's like I'm spraying tech nine rifles" is a good line. The vocal stylings of Dyna Edyne are a nice touch. “Take a Sip” is another one. The New York 1990’s classic production is on point. The singing of rap lyrics accented the song in a wonderful way. “Still I stand/ machete in the hand/ Got my angels in front of me/ Singing Ali Bomaye/Killing all my enemies. Singing that line just worked so well. The ad lib singing at the end of the song was a great touch.
On “Top 3 Selected” Top 3 Selected” Ajayi using a fast flow over a classic Grime beat that warns the fake and the fraudulent to heed his position in the rap game. “M’s” is a getting money anthem. The emcees talks about striving for the better things in life. There is no other way to say it. The hook is lit. The line “Elevate/Medicate/Meditate/Educate/Everyday/Everyday/Blessing are never late” was impressive.
"Kelly Price” uses one of my favorite Migos songs of the same name. Subtract Actavis, Guns and Percocet’s and substitute angels, grace, and purpose and you get the gist. Over a busy Drum & Bass track Mr. Ajayi advises everyone on the advantages of being an individual on the track “Who You Are.”
Projects like “Made For More” are proof Gospel or Inspirational themed albums belong in the conversation of mainstream music. Good Work!