Hip-hop draws a lot of criticism for glorifying drugs, violence and the degradation of women - among other things. Well, without getting into the rights and wrongs of that viewpoint, let's say upfront that Judah has produced a strong hip-hop disc with a positive message. While Rockford is not the Mecca of hip-hop, Judah The Lyrical Rev shows that there is definite talent in our hometown. His beats and sounds are well chosen and his rhyming is up there with the best.
In the opening cut he says, "look close you won't find a flaw in this design." He's referring to his rap style, and I have to say, I don't disagree with that statement one bit. I suppose for the hardcore gangsta fans this one will not be legit. Judah draws his lyrical inspiration from Christianity. So, you won't find gratuitous sex and violence in this mix. The thing is, he doesn't hit you over the head with his religious beliefs to the point of seeming "preachy." This is a classy production.
If you want to look to comparisons, in some ways I can see connections to Will Smith. Judah's meter is often similar to Smith's and the fact that neither of them make use of questionable language is another link. You might also hear Dr. Dre in this, too. The first couple tracks here represent an introduction to the man. I really like the second track in the way it draws from synthesizer heavy rock sounds. There are plenty of other standouts here, though. In fact, I'd have to say that there are really no weak pieces. I also love the sample of Styx's "Don't be fooled by the radio" and other lines from "Grand Illusion."
For fans of hip-hop that can live without all the hardcore references, this one is a great release. For those who would like a good introduction to the musical style without having to sit through a lot of usages of the "f" word and hearing women called by a name that rhymes with "witch" this is also highly recommended. In general, I'd say that this is very strong album that showcases a solid rapper who seems like he's probably a good guy, too. That's not always a combination that shows up. Support your Rockford area hip-hop scene by picking up this disc.