I realize the relevance of this has possibly passed, considering Houston-based Christian rapper Bizzle released his 4th studio album back in October. Honestly, it’s taken about this long for me to get past the surface and really get into the lyrics and meaning of the entire album. Just like when reading/ studying the bible, sometimes something you’ve read over many times sticks out all of sudden, or takes on new meaning, depending on your current situation at the time.
I also had to get over the fact that, for me, this was a different type of Bizzle album than I am used. Definitely, his growth as an artist and as a believer is apparent to me. With more singing, by either featured artists or Bizzle attempting to hold a note, there is a smoother, more R&B/ rap crossover with a majority of the album.
Another welcoming aspect is a more human, grace-filled subject matter in contrast to his usual tough, almost condemning, style. Bizzle still brings the John the Baptist “repent before it goes down” message, which I am so thankful for, but he has grown closer to a Jesus “grace and mercy” gospel as well. I’ve been waiting for this side of Bizzle.
Here are some highlights from songs I really liked. Almost the whole album!
The album opens up with Bizzle reciting Deuteronomy 30:19, in quiet ominous tone that set’s up the intro for the title track “Surrender” featuring Monty G with the dancehall style hook, which feels very natural. “Kinda hard not to think were not the problem” is a line that sticks out. The message here is clear, you’ll eventually need to surrender whether you think it right or wrong.
Track 3, “Not for Sale” features Kefia Rollerson of Sunday’s best fame, which was a surprise as this record was originally using a Lauryn Hill sample that could not be cleared. In any case, the message is still the same. Bizzle proclaims he will not sell out his mission or his religion for the lucrative music industry. He calls out the business for selling a lie to listeners, falsely advertising a life of crime and strife as glamorous, but really an image to cover up a method of enslavement. “Got a couple real homies doing real time, trying to eat, now they’re being told when it’s meal time.” Bizzle’s conviction is heard loud and clear, he is not for sale!
“Protocol” brings back the energy on track 4. This song get’s me hype! “You can’t kill me, I die for a living!” is proclaimed boldly on the hook. Bizzle gives us a story of his salvation and grace, over a fire track from Marv4MoBeats. Easily, one of my most favorite tracks of the album.
Track 5 again drops the energy for a more introspective “No More” that talks about chasing after the world, and even after having everything you desired, you still feel incomplete. “If money gave hope to folks, then millionaires wouldn’t be overdosing…” This a reminder for Matt 6:22 in music form.
“No Hate” (track 6) featuring Bumps INF is a song I have to sing to myself all day. With the obligatory Bay Area sound, this song should help you always turn the other cheek. “Hate it when I’m paid, hate when I’m broke. They’re hating on my faith, hating on my folk. (They) see I’m drowning in the middle of the ocean, when you pull up they’ll be hating on your boat.” Bumps verse is a killer!
For Bizzle, a reoccurring theme across his albums seems to be his temptations with woman. I don’t take him for being the adulterous type, but I am sure that he has his share of opportunities considering the industry he is in. Even more so the fact he is who he is, I’m sure there is a devil out there looking to be the one to take him down. He is always very open about this topic, as most men can relate. This song, “Sin No More” (track 9) hit me profoundly at then when he asks “Wondering if my faith is consistent, and at what point do I begin to slip so often it’s the way I’m living?”
Another temptation track by Bizzle, “Feel Good” (track 11), is him telling the story of a possibly old flame trying to spark back up using the “pray for me” angle to get him on the phone late at night and eventually wanting to meet him at a show in her town. Bizzle has an honorable way of handling this, as he lets us know “that’s why he always takes his wife to his shows.” Featuring Crystal Tamar lending her sweet, yet seductive voice on the hook and peppered throughout, this is the second collaboration between the two, with the first being “Did for Me” on the Well Wishes album.
“All Over Again” (track 12)This song might be corny unless you married and really love your wife, which I am/ do. I really dig this song, which is basically an ode to his wife.
Track 13, “Believers” is the message right here! We dem believers! This has always been the type of song I hoped Bizzle would do. As Christians, we have some up days and some down days. We get provoked and then criticized for responding. But we are people of grace, so we forgive as are forgiven.