Coffee and Bonafide are back with a hot stack of smokin' jams, their first new studio work since the Dichotomy albums. Redemption showcases their signature styles on eleven tracks of fresh, clean beats and intelligent rhymes, including "Soul Cry," "We Ride," "Memories," and more.
This duos songs have been in movies (The Fast and the Furious 3, Big Mommas House) and on television (MTV, BET), but Coffee and Bonafide are ready for more. With Redemption, they are closing the Gotee Records chapter of their career and turning the page. Facing a new chapter ripe with general market possibilities (and GRITS own record label), they offer up their most subversive project as a swan song and a sign of things to come.
Redemption eases the frenetic pace of the sprawling double disc set Dichotomy A and B as GRITS comes of age. Much of this album, musically, falls somewhere between Lil Johns ubiquitous crunk beats and Jazzy Phas legendary gangsta club beats. What really separates GRITS from its multi-platinum contemporaries are the lyrics. Coffee and Bonafide are fearless lyricistsfearless about their faith, fearless about truth-telling; but each MC puts his distinctive stamp on every rhyme. Bonafide raises his game, coolly dropping wisdom in nearly every verse, while Coffee has taken his spoken word-style lyricism to a new depth. And, like the MCs, the tone of this projectwith beats by little known but capable producersis as distinctive as night and day.
Holla @ Ya is like a smooth, sweet chocolate, but it also brings a very pointed message of encouragement to women. The bassy grind of Heyyy percolates like it was custom made for slow cruisin Atlanta boulevards on a hot summer night. Not the Same might be dismissed as light urban radio fare if not for Coffees tongue-twisting antics. Then the sun goes down again, and the boys mash on a dark, dirty south club beat with Tight Wit These. The slow marching band horns on this amazing track could probably hypnotize somebodys grandmother onto a dance floor.
Switching styles again, Ambitions is an everyman anthem, reflecting GRITS own prayers for wisdom as the duo heads into a new future. Cameos are few on Redemption, but they are well placed, with folks such as Pigeon John and re-energized underground veteran Can-I-Bus. Marred by only one near misfire, the 80s throwback Right Back, Redemption is a sparkling reflection of a mature group that seems to have outgrown the Christian music scene and is completely ready to surpass the best general market hip-hop has to offer.
ANTHONY BARR-JEFFREY- CCMMagazine.com
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