Written by Victor Stanley Jr.
While many in CHH—Christian Rap, Holy Hip-Hop, or whatever else you want to call it—are trying to figure out whether or not Reach is still unashamed; or if it should or should not be called Christian Rap; and at the end of the day attempting to find the genre’s identity, one person stands out as unconcerned with these things. He is simply making good music for himself and his fans.
Charlottesville, VA rapper Shad Gill just delivered one of the best albums I have heard this year. His latest effort, Svn7VII, is an introspective journey through the highs and lows of his life up to this point. His previous offerings were: Out of the Box, S.O.D. (Songs of Deliverance), and GraceF8th&808s. While these projects showed Shad’s skill as an MC and helped build his popularity and fan base, they lacked the depth and consistency that he shows on Svn7VII.
This latest project shows tremendous growth and maturity, as well as a shift from making music that fits in with the mainstream to music that fits in the hearts of his fans. And you can be sure that Svn7VII will touch your soul as Shad navigates through topics such as his father walking out on him, to the struggles his past presents in his marriage, to even realizing he had been conned by the devil. The album has lighter songs like Favor where he speaks of the peace and joy Christ has brought into his life, or Free Minds where he speaks of being set free from his past. Not to be overlooked for his lyricism and ability to flow, Shad delivers tracks such as Winner’s Circle where he repeatedly changes his flow throughout the verses along with delivering clever punchlines and witty wordplay. The Good & The Bad is a track that will hit home with anyone, especially Christians, as Shad gives listeners a look into his inner struggle with pride, anger, hypocrisy, and other sins. Yet the track has such a sincere humility in that he recognizes these flaws in himself and in turn seeks God to make him righteous.
There is no need to go into great detail on the content of the album, to get that you need to go buy it yourself; it can be purchased on iTunes by clicking here. What does need to be said is that Shad Gill seems to have found his stride; balancing great lyrics, substantive content, and an authenticity missing in much of today’s music. I found myself connecting to the situations and emotions put forth on the album, and even being able to visualize the mise–en–scène Shad constructs from various episodes throughout his life. This project can rightly stand on the shelf next to several other albums that have come out this year, least of which is Eshon Burgundy’s Fear of God.
If you are wondering what my final assessment on the manner is, I can sum it up in three words: GO BUY SVN7VII.