After 10+ years with Gotee Records, releasing six full length records, a mildly successful remix album, and a greatest hits record, two-man rap group Grits is poised to release their latest venture, Redemption. After the dual Dichotomy albums, I fully expected Grits to step into some new territory with this next installment, however, what I found with Redemption surprised me.
From its first listen, it seems that Grits has spent a lot more time on making the beats and music sound better with each album. There's a lot of sound effects, along with the classic beats that make the music flow. However, it seems the group has taken too much time on the music aspect, and lost some of the blunt rap lyricism they once had. For example, "Holla @ Ya" has a great sound to it, but the lyrics lack the same substance Grits has come to be known for, and it takes a few listens at times to understand that the song is about a woman who knows better than to go with someone who isn't good for her. Other songs like "Heyyy," which has no real point to it other than being a party track, and "Soul Cry," which has a great message, is ruined by the song's end where the music's volume drowns out the lyrics.
The album has its highlights, too. Songs like the album opener "We Workin'" and the beat-driven "Open Bar," which includes Pigeon John (although the meaning of the song isn't very evident, and could easily be taken the wrong way), are among the standout tracks. Another highlight is "We Ride," which showcases Coffee's true talents as a rapper, and "Right Back," which almost has an early 90's feel to it.
Overall, this is a mediocre release from the rap pioneers of Gotee Records. It seems Grits is going for a more mainstream flavor, and in the process they are losing the southern rap style they have become known for over the past decade. If you liked the Dichotomy releases, you might be disappointed with Redemption.- Review date: 11/16/06, written by Justin Mabee
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