REVIEW: theBREAX – Never Arrive

Written by Sketch the Journalist. Posted in Reviews

Published on December 13, 2011 with 1 Comment">1 Comment

After a string of independent projects (including a Rawkus 50 stamp of approval), a year of free mixtapes of mostly original music, and an IndieGoGo crowd-sourcing effort, San Diego’s theBREAX crew has finally arrived at… well… Never Arrive.

The new iTunes release is a concept album that lacks fictional characters but is nonetheless held tight by a topic of healthy dissatisfaction. The central theme is to always strive for perfection in one’s faith, education, profession, relationship, and craft but to never feel comfortably lazy in the idea that he has reached the pinnacle of those lofty goals. In a genre that often celebrates status and success, the humility is refreshing.

Sonically, the fellas offer a mature, underground/conscious approach to hip hop. Think The Roots with less tear-inducing strings and more spoken word. But like the Late Night band, they create “make-you-want-to-put-on-a-tie-and-argyle-sweater” music.

There are nice features from Lecrae, J.R., Sean Johnson, and Shad. And as he did on the BREAX Over mixtape series, the rapping DJ, Beleaf Melanin, continues to prove that he’s not “just a hype man” with sharp storytelling and delivery on key tracks like “Alive.”

Sure, there are areas that could be improved (the spoken word pieces could stand to be re-recorded instead of taken from live audio and Ruslan’s “Share Your World” immigrant tale could probably be more interesting), but if Never Arrive were perfect it would negate its very message.

Sketch the Journalist

Sketch the Journalist is a freelance writer living in the thriving country metropolis of Cut-N-Shoot, Texas. Down with gospel rap since Stephen Wiley’s “Bible Break” in 1986, he has chewed, reviewed, and interviewed most of Christian hip hop’s major players. He authors the Jesus Muzik blog for the Houston Chronicle's Belief website.

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  • http://danielrothamel.com Daniel Rothamel

    Nice review.  The thing that struck me most about the album is the diversity of sound and the willingness to experiment and take some risks conceptually, lyrically, and sonically.  I am particularly fond of “Come With Me,” which combines both the concept and music behind “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with lyrics that give it a twist.  Good stuff.

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