("I love to put the talk in my music to God bless / cause I want to touch the fans like Ron Artest") - Four years after the release of The Night We Called It A Day (on UpRok records), deepSpace5 follows their debut with Unique Just Like Everyone Else. Now on Gotee records, deepSpace5 is a hip-hop collaboration featuring seven emcees - Manchild (from Mars Ill), Playdough (from Ill Harmonics), Sev Statik (from Tunnel Rats), Sintax, Listener, Fred B, and Sivion - as well as DJ Dust and Beat Rabbi. Representing elements from three major groups in Christian hip-hop, as well as some of the top names in the underground scene, deepSpace5 can rightly be called a "supergroup" among their peers and their latest release certainly packs a potent dose of Christian rap.
("They say the bigger you are, the harder you thud / Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug") - With more rappers in deepSpace5 than most bands have members, there's certainly no shortage of vocal talent on Unique Just Like Everyone Else. Despite this, the first challenge of any hip-hop collective is making sure that each rapper gets rhyme time on the album, and with seven emcees and only one mic to go around, deepSpace5 definitely has its hands full. Like a loaded basketball team, having too much talent on one roster can be both a blessing and a curse, but Deep shares the space rather efficiently, giving each emcee a chance to shine without the tracks sounding too long or overly cluttered. The shared lyrical load allows each member to focus his attack, and the verses stay terse and concise throughout. Most importantly, no one voice dominates the entire recording, giving Unique Just Like Everyone Else a true cohesion that it needs in order to succeed.
("I grip the handle of this sawed-off verse / Shotgun splatter my brain matter with every burst") - Despite each rapper spitting verses in smaller doses, quality rhymes still abound on each track. These guys have a knack for picking up where the other left off and it's a real treat to hear these talented voices play off each other. Each line is hard-hitting and direct as Manchild, Playdough and company waste no time in getting their points across. Whether taking on topics as diverse as abortion and the state of hip-hop, or criticizing the current fad of spirituality on radio ("It's an outrage you're supporting Kanye and Mase / TheyÖ put Jesus in a song / Now the radio wants God, oh so wrong") the lyrics on each song are sharp, witty, and provocative no matter who is behind the mic.
("Use this kick and snare as my canvas / I'm brushed out abstract, take no chances") - Not to be outdone, the beats on the record are as hard-hitting as the lyrics they carry. DJ Dust (the main force behind Mars Ill) and Beat Rabbi handle most of the production duties on Unique Just Like Everyone Else. Dust is the album's main producer and you can hear his fingerprints all over this record. Live drums, guitars, and manipulated horn samples are sprinkled throughout, giving Unique... a distinctly underground flavor. Those hip-hop fans weaned on Mars Ill's sound will certainly not be disappointed, and even those tracks not handled by Dust fit in very well in the scheme of things. Highlights include the driving drumbeat and staggered samples of "Mechanical Advantage" and the keyboard-and-horns-infused "Half Hearted."
("I speak in brief words, this grief observed / and make rap something more than just vanity slurs") - With several top talents in Christian rap gathered together on one CD, Unique Just Like Everyone Else is nothing short of a solid effort from deepSpace5. Each member adds something different to the mix, giving the album an exciting and dynamic sound. With plenty of skill both behind the mic and behind the boards, deepSpace5 certainly lives up to the supergroup hype and most importantly, Unique Just Like Everyone Else doesn't sound the least bit awkward or hastily thrown together. More than just a collection of parts, deepSpace5 sounds good because they sound good together! So whether you're a fan of Mars Ill, Playdough, Ill Harmonics, or just a fan of Christian hip-hop in general, be sure to check out this Gotee release!- Review date: 5/14/05, written by Sherwin Frias
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