Review: Level 3:16- Self Titled


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Cross Movement Records

Released December 28, 2010

Reviewed by Anthony Peronto

Diversity. All record labels that associate themselves in a particular genre need it; even the Christian labels aren’t exempt from this. Tooth & Nail Records have been getting flak over the years with this issue w/ it’s recent signings (And Then There Were None, Poema, Corey Crowder, & recently Rocky Loves Emily). It seems as though hip hop power-players Cross Movement Records are slowly embracing the change with (in addition to Shachah’s recent albums) a new group of young men and women who bring forth hip hop and R&B into a package called Level 3:16.

All hip hop albums have them: The mellow track with female vocals providing background vocals or even the chorus for full effect. I shuddered to think as I started the first track that this would be an album chock-full of these songs. Thankfully this isn’t the case; however the songs that left the most impression had more of the boom-bap and spitting from the guys rather than the “oooh’s” of the ladies. Favorites on the album include “Crazy” with it’s hot beat and funny intro and “Total Submission,” it’s Asian-influenced beat and verses and that remind me instantly of The Heavenly Man. A story by Hung S. adds even more emotion to the table and might open eyes to some who don’t know the struggle of the Chinese underground church. “Tell Em (Internal Conflict)” also touched me lyrically on issues that many other people can relate to, despite being clearly told from the point of view of one of the members.

While I mean no disrespect to the 2/3 majority of the group who provide the melody in Level 3:16, it’s personal preference in your taste of the genre if this album is slightly enjoyable or an instant favorite from this new and upcoming hip hop group. If the group can continue to diversify themselves from the typical hip hop/R&B group and work on distinguishing between the singers’ voices, I see big things in store for their sophomore effort.

Grade: 3

Tracklisting:

  1. Via
  2. Crazy
  3. See It How I See It
  4. Know Him
  5. Tell Em (Internal Conflict)
  6. Total Submission ft. Hung S.
  7. Casting Shadow
  8. Amazing
  9. The Return
  10. Most High
  11. I Remember
  12. Level
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