Overdosing after completing a rehab program seems like another tale of Hollywood fame gone wrong. But, this is not about former child stars falling off after appearing on a reality show. This is about a newfound reliance on Christ's love after being released from the predisposed dependency on sin. With his grammy- nominated project, Rehab, just months in the rearview, Lecrae presents Rehab: The Overdose.
1. Overdose: the album starts with what seems to be a direct answer to Rick Ross’ BMF. Not as confrontational as anything Bizzle has put out, but still pointedly steadfast in championing righteous living. The steady stream of good punchlines and metaphors kicks things off in a more attention- grabbing way than Rehab. Locked in with his Dallas-Memphis- ATL flow, its promising to hear Lecrae come closer to that Real Talk energy level. The beat is nice but I doubt it would’ve been as tolerable beyond its 2 minute and 56 second run time.
2. More*: the aggressive tone of this project is established early as we move into a worshipful track in the same vein as some of Lecrae’s most popular ones (“Go Hard”, “Represent”, etc.). Authoritative drum beats, mixed with a choir synth sound, help set a solid stage for him to work on. Lecrae continues to shun shame, unabashedly proclaiming love and devotion to The Father, even as his platform grows.
3. Battle Song feat. Suzy Rock: not so sure the first few seconds added much to the song but this is a good, uptempo track overall. This exhorting track basically is a call to arms for Christians in the fight against sin and Lecrae continues with his balanced lyricism. Suzy Rock showcased her skill set, but her verse wasn’t on the level of what’s been heard from her previously. I definitely understand the reason this was performed heavily on the Unashamed Tour, with its energetic anthem feel.
4. Anger Management feat. Thi’sl*: arguably the best song on the album, from instrumentation to subject matter. Driving pianos, trumpets, and snares set up an open discussion for Lecrae and Thi’sl to speak on something that is all too prevalent within the Body. This track will hit home with those of us who are quick to trade harsh words, harbor hurt, or think too highly of ourselves.
5. Blow Your High feat. Canon: the beat says Chicago all over it, so Lecrae adjusted his flow accordingly and invited Windy City native Canon to spit sobering thoughts. Considering that Lecrae has been blessed to have some increased presence, there’s a chance some mary jane loving music buyer may scoop this project up and proceed to inhale some unexpected conviction. Based on Romans 1:25, this song is another principle- centered, detoxifying track.
6. Strung Out*: this song almost seems like a prelude or B-Side to “Killa”, to the point it would have been interesting to see how this track played against it on Rehab. “I’m goin thru withdrawals, shakes and all”, pretty much sums this track up as Lecrae takes a look back at a portion of the Rehab gone by. One note, the hook featured some nice harmonies but no singer was credited. Could it be that Creezy has some crooning ability that he’s been keeping under wraps? Maybe, maybe not but whoever sung it put some notes together.
7. Chase That Intro: a nice string solo prepares the listener for whatever the song "Chase That" brings. Running at 44 seconds, its arguable whether or not this was a necessary part of the playlist.
8. Chase That (Ambition): Lecrae goes autobiographical with this track, discussing his struggle with selfish ambition until his perspective was switched 180 degrees. Mapping out where he wanted to take his rapping career pre- salvation (at the expense of school, among other things), up until submitting completely to Christ. The violins (carried over from the interlude) playing on the hook brought depth to an other wise boring, minimalistic beat- which probably was done purposely to focus on the story at hand.
9. The Good Life feat. J Paul*: the first half of this project seemed to be more uptempo, but as we close out the playlist, things slow down for some introspective tracks. Yet again the crisp violin helps make this mellow, cautionary song that much more effective in a way reminiscent of the prevailing vibe of Between 2 Worlds. Lecrae throws out a few stories, as J Paul smooths out the hook, and the result is definitely a replay worthy song.
10. Like That: there is an almost innumerable amount of songs from the world that directly disrespect women and, as we all know, the majority of those come from the hip hop realm. So, whenever there’s a track that is focused on warning/ exhorting young women to seek God to fill the void in their heart, I love it. Being a father of two daughters, it resonates and I can only pray that it will resonate with the ladies (and immature dudes) who hear it. The beat itself is cool, nothing special, but this is one that could be a sleeper hit if Reach so chose to push it in that way.
11. Going In feat. Swoope*: another candidate for the best song on the album, in spite of the hook being autotuned. Nothing like advising of the glory that awaits those chosen to O.D. on He who is holy, this track has a tempo to it that perfectly closes out the project. Keeping his talents in Akron, I don’t know that Swoope has ever made a lame track or spit a lame verse; a shrewd move on Lecrae’s part to partner up with him. Oh, and I have to give my obligatory recommendation for this as a candidate for full music video.
Rehab: The Overdose is a project that feels like a “where are they now?” follow up to the acclaimed release, Rehab. Some tracks feel like they could be leftovers from that album (“Anger Management”, “Strung Out”) but they still find a way to fit into the OD theme. The overall them of an overdose after rehab is interesting in its approach but very much biblical. The destructive nature of sin is temporal but the presence and power of God is eternal. With that established, it only makes sense that the feeding of the spirit overrides the flesh, sentencing it to daily death. Lyrically, Lecrae is an “every person’s rapper” in that he finds a place between the complex and the simple to speak from. The polish and quality is there musically, featuring a few gritty songs plus a handful of laid back ones. Even so, there are some tracks that leave a “just okay” impression when it comes to creativity. Considering the sustained success of Rehab, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lecrae hold down the first two chart positions with the release of this project. I feel that this album will help the world continue to understand what the Kingdom has to offer, even though it doesn’t necessarily outpace what’s out. Based on the content and production quality, along with a few standout tracks, this 4 star album starts the year 2011 off well.