It’s no secret that I think Humble Beast is the top of the Christian hip-hop food chain. Each release stabilizes and cements the labels place to go for real, quality hip-hop. Propaganda’s Crimson Cord is another gem in a stacked discography.
I was in love with Prop’s collaboration album with Odd Thomas (Art Ambidextrous) and I was so excited for Excellent… But Excellent was underwhelming. I liked a lot of things about the album, but it just didn’t hit me as this great piece of work the same way Art Ambidextrous did. Yet I was still excited for Crimson Cord. Something felt different in it’s release. There was an air of expectancy surrounding it, and that translated to me being excited for the album.
There was a passion and an intensity about Art Ambidextrous that just seemed lacking on Excellent. But it’s back on Crimson Cord. From the start, the album’s spoken word opener, You Mock Me, is vicious and painful, powerful and honest. There’s an overcoming that’s been birthed in pain that shines through the track. Which carries right into the album’s title track. The beat isn’t complicated and almost hidden in the background as Prop spits vicious verse after vicious verse. There’s a subtle change in tone as the hook hits. It’s not catchy like a pop song, but the theme and repetitive nature of the hook will stick in your ears.
Daywalkers is a bouncy upbeat song that features Lecrae. And when I say upbeat, I mean in tone and for the record. Because there’s a bitterness on all of the tracks on Crimson Cord. Musically the song is upbeat and redemptive. Make has a 90’s vibe that’s extremely compelling and draws you in to what Prop is saying on the track. Bored Of Education is one of those angry, political, change needs to happen songs that I loved so much about Art Ambidextrous.
The hope in the pain within songs like I Ain’t Gave Up On You Yet, Framed Stretch Marks, and Three Cord Bond make you trap for the lyrics to see what Prop is trying to convey. You can hear raw honest pain. Not always a pain in that life has gone wrong for him, but a pain that people don’t always see there beauty. Songs like those, plus the honest questioning in tracks like How Did We Get Here are what make Crimson Cord such an interesting a compelling listen.
Tell Me Yours closes out the record. It’s Prop’s story. Everything from his salvation to his love for hip-hop and dealing with racism. It’s his thank you to all the people who shaped him into who he is today. It’s a beautiful way to close the record.
Crimson Cord is a powerful record. Lyrically heavy, but it;s beautiful and the honesty in Propaganda’s lyrics are compelling to the listener. Musically interesting, at time old school, and overall Crimson Cord is a masterpiece.
You can download Crimson Cord at http://www.humblebeast.com/downloads/propaganda-crimson-cord/