Although dc talk are widely known today for their flawless pop-rock anthems, many still remember them for their earlier hip-hop days back in the early 90's. Nestled comfortably between their (almost-horrible) debut album and the near-classic Free At Last, Nu Thang showcases dc talk's transition and maturity quite well. Whereas, their self-titled debut sounded like it was recorded in someone's garage - with nothing more than a drum machine and some loops - Nu Thang is more similar to Free At Last, almost sounding like its predecessor.
The first thing you notice about Nu Thang is that each vocalist has improved since the first album. Once sounding like background-singers in their own group, Michael Tait and Kevin (Max) Smith, are each given more freedom vocally this time around. Their voices are more prominent in the arrangements and each of them even get their own solo spotlight on two songs, with Kmax taking the chorus for "Things of This World" and Tait handling "Children Can Live (Without It)." Even Toby McKeehan's raps have improved. Although still a tad on the clichéd side, Toby's lyrics tackle serious issues such as racism ("Walls"), abortion ("Children Can Live"), and taking God for granted ("Take it to the Lord").
There are plenty of highlights on this album too. The opener "When DC Talks" is a great mission statement on what the band is about. "Walls" is a strong anthem against racism with a rock-infused sound, sounding kinda like "Time Is" from Free At Last. "Talk it out" and "Can I get a Witness" are also two great songs, both as catchy as anything on Free At Last. However, there are a couple of spots where the album falls flat - "Take it to the Lord" sounds uninspired and "No More" is just plain corny with its "boycott sin" message.
While the album is not perfect, it is a solid step forward for dc talk since it provides the blueprint on which Free At Last was built upon. Although unfairly overlooked by most dc talk fans (I bet most fans don't even have it, and no tracks made it onto Intermission: Greatest Hits), this album is still worth checking out for those fans who enjoy Free At Last and are interested in catching up on dc talk's earlier hip-hop material.- Review date: 12/31/04, written by Sherwin Frias
This album is nothing like I had ever heard before. When I picked it up, it was sitting on my shelf for quite awhile. After I finally decided to try it out, I found it to be pretty good for an old-school dc Talk album.
The Nu Thang starts out with "When DC Talks", which in itself is a very unique song. It talks about how us, as Christians, should speak out for what we believe in, and not keep it inside ourselves. It goes through another series of these unique (though not bad) hip hop songs and gets to "Things of this World." This song is one of my favorites on the album, addressing how the things of this world will pass away. "Walls" is a good, rousing song, which talks about how we need to break down the walls of segregation and fight fire with fire. "Children Can Live (Without It)" is another of my favorites on this album. dc Talk really speaks out on abortion, how it is wrong, and how we should pray for a change. The album ends with "Can I Get a Witness," which is another great upbeat song in itself. It ends with a bang, just like the beginning. This album is definitely a step-up from their first project, but still VERY much a rap album, and fans of dc Talk's later hits are warned before buying this rap (despite good) album.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 1/6/05, written by Chris Francis< for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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