Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: Big R "Rated R" by Mark Miller

It is my honor to present to you the second review from Mark Miller. Mark is a recent high school grad (preparing for college at Texas A&M) who is getting his feet wet in the world of Christian hip hop writing.

Mark's first piece was a review of the Music Unlocked mixtape you can read here.

So, without any further adieu, here are Mark's thoughts on Big R's "Rated R."


Please do not be alarmed when you pick up Big R’s album “Rated R” and think the content has any relation to the title. The material on this disc is anything but “For Restricted Audiences Only.”

This newest member of the GodChaserz Entertainment family has come out with a sophomore album blazing with raw passion and production from Brinson of GCE and Tony Stone (among others.)

The atmosphere of the project is that of a man itching to give a message to his listeners. Big R is so forceful through all of his lyrics that from the instant the play button is pressed, the listener knows R has something he wants them to hear.

On various tracks he gives an account of how, during certain parts of his life, many people (including his wife) ridiculed him for his faith. A message like this allows the album to be relatable to many believers’ walks with Christ. The beautiful thing is that in the same breath he professes he will continue to keep his gaze on the Lord and shake the dust off of his Timberlands.

Each track, whether it has a tender feel or if it is just an outright banger, is street to the core. Every beat knocks just as hard as the previous one throughout “Rated R.” Big R has a slightly raspy voice and generally flows at an unhurried pace, giving the album just the right amount of swagger that a Christian performer should carry.

At first it sounds like Big R has a habit of boasting in his lyrics and then mentioning something religious right after. It’s a dichotomy that may initially give his church-going fans pause, but after paying closer attention, listeners should realize Big R is only boasting in his victory of salvation through Christ while acknowledging that he has no reason to exalt himself.

“I Wanna Win” is not talking about winning in the rap game or hustling, but winning salvation. In the middle of the track, R takes the opportunity to say that if you have been saved in the blood of Jesus then you have already won.

One of the hardest hitting songs on the project is the track “Rated R.” It gives an explanation of the title of the album, which is that the radio classified Big R’s music as “Restricted” in the past. It seems that he has used this to fuel the fire of his drive to represent Christ through his musical talents.

Contrary to everything mentioned up to this point, there are a few tracks that are a little on the softhearted side. “Love You Better” is a passionate song from R to his faithful God. In it he gives thanks to Jesus for staying by him through everything and never forsaking him even when Big R was not necessarily doing God’s will in his life.

It is also important to note that at the end of the album, Big R talks to the listener and explains what it means to be born again and how to do that. He then explains the steps new believers need to follow to grow their new faith and even gives out his cell number as a support line for his listeners.

The album grew on me as I listened to it. Big R has a very sophisticated, mature flow that is complimented with his spiritual maturity. Motivation in the faith is the main theme of “Rated R” as well as finding one’s strength in Christ.

The production and sound quality is very well done and is another reminder that holy hip hop continues to prove it is on the same playing field as its secular counterpart.

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