The second solo release from 116 Clique standout Sho Baraka is a heavy-hitting set of sample-based hiphop and synth-heavy R&B styles, boasting intricate rhymes, catchy hooks and gritty life stories.
Lions and Liars breaks down the difference between living a life for God and what the media calls success, relating tales of urban wisdom and Gospel truth on tracks featuring guest spots from Lecrae, K-Drama, J.R., and others.
Lions And Liars CD
Oh wow! Baraka does it
I always heard Sho Baraka on other albums but his solo albums passed me by. Then the music world went crazy over "We Can Be More", so I decided to check out this album.
From the "Extinction (Intro)" I knew I was in for a treat. This is hip-hop the way I like it. Heavily thematic, doctrinally sound, and of course some bass-shaking thrown in
It just gets better from there on. I can't really point out a single track I actively dislike on here.
"Lions Anthem" - Clever wordplay set to a subwoofer-friendly track.
"Famous" - the cry of every Christian - "I want to make you (Jesus) famous)
"Shut Us Down" - didn't even notice Lecrae featured here til now! Another of the popular rock-rap mash-up tracks - very radio-friendly and once again a great message.
"We Can Be More" - a romantic hip-hop dance track!
"Mercy on Me" - the Grace of God covers our sin
"I'm Black" - well, I am.
"My Life" - unfortunately the track is a bit reminiscent of other songs on the album, but I like the song - it's Sho's autobiography.
"Me, Myself and I" - ok, I don't like this track, the lyrics, the whole song. Can't explain why. Weird synth track maybe?
"Liars Anthem" - a counterpoint to "Lions Anthem" and just for sticking to the album's theme I like this song.
"BOYS!!!" - as a minister to young men, it's one of the few hip-hop interludes that I never skip!
"Revolutionary Died" - features Trip Lee and I love everything William raps on!
"Oh Well" - we all have a friend like the one Sho raps about here. One who needs to find his joy in Christ.
"The Rising" - a very different musical style from the rest of the album. This track either grows on you or doesn't.
"I.T.W.N.O.I" - my absolutely favourite track on this album. "In This World, Not Of It" - always play this track twice just to remind myself.
"Half of Me" - still thematically continuing the story of Sho's struggles growing in the faith.
"4ever is 2morrow" - another misstep unfortunately. Not a very memorable track musically.
"Word" - a minimalist track with a VERY repetitive hook but it works for me.
"Kobe Bryant on Em" - you either love or hate this. It's a remix of a track he did on a mix-tape some years back. I love it!
"Feel So Alone" - a mellow R&B track as we reach the end of the album.
"I See The Lord (remix)" - would have preferred the album to end after the last album, because I really really don't get this track.
Overall, a wonderful album. And check out his 2013 album - "Talented Xth" to see the growth of one of my favourite Christian Hip-Hop artists.
October 9, 2013
Two and a half years since the debut of his freshman album "Turn My Life Up", Sho has something new for your ears with his latest release "Lions and Liars".While "Turn My Life Up" might be summed up as a steady dose of high energy songs with catchy and memorable hooks - "Lions and Liars" exudes a more mature and introspective feel overall.Generally speaking, I suspect that "Turn My Life Up" would have more appeal to a wider, more mainstream audience - while "Lions and Liars" is likely to resonate on a deeper, more personal level with a slightly smaller audience.That is certainly not to say that the album doesn't have it's fair share of catchy anthems however. After all, you wouldn't expect an entirely subdued album from the "Why so serious?" rapper a.k.a. Mr. B. Scientific himself would you?In fact, the album gets off to a roaring start almost immediately as soon as the intro track cuts into an excellent beat that some Christian Rap fans may recognize as a tastefully remodeled version of the same beat found on the track "Take a Deep Breath" offered by the Truce Crew in 2006.The album then moves along to a skillfully crafted track titled "Lions Anthem" which uses clever word play to describe scenarios of how real world Christians can work to serve the Lord in and through their everyday occupations.The following tracks "Famous" and "Shut Us Down" are some of the albums strongest entries, only to be outdone by Sho's well publicized masterpiece "We can be More" which features the silky smooth vocals of J.R.Overall, "Lions and Liars" is a solid chunk of meat that just about any lion should be pleased to sink their teeth into.It has been awarded a Gold Medal by CrossRap and is a highly recommended purchase. For a more detailed breakdown of the album where each song is rated individually, please visit the CrossRap website.
June 4, 2010