Review Summary: Just look at the cover art.
The Christian mainstream giants have been noted for playing a variety of styles, from rock and rap to soul and funk. Their 1995 opus Jesus Freak
paved the way for many Christian acts. The band's ability to branch into the general market as well also helped many Christian artists do the same. However, they also had humble beginnings, starting out as a hip-hop group in the late 80s. They released their self-titled debut in 1989 to lukewarm reception. It was straight up hip-hop done by two crackers and one Negro, and it was obvious that at the time the band had no concept of staying power of songs; it wasn't until their later work they would understand how to write songs that weren't so easily outdated. This follow up album was released only one year later in 1990, and while it was an improvement, the album is awful.
The backbone and spotlight of Dc Talk is the three vocalists, Toby McKeehan, Kevin Max and Michael Tait. Their theme at the time of this album was "Rap, Rock and Soul", represented by the aforementioned vocalists, respectively. Each singer would do their take on their genre when they performed. This album marked the first time they did anything
other than rap, and "No More" is a fine example in the form of K-Max's rock domination. It is if they took the standard late 80s/early 90s hard rock template and threw in a catchy bass hook. Think Faith No More's "Epic" without the metal influence. While it was a good attempt at branching out into territory other than rap, any time they did, their songs sounded like "Epic" on this album. Actually that's a lie; "Walls" is the song Limp Bizkit wishes they wrote if they were a band at the time. Now the song, as with all of the band's songs, has a positive message. As they yell Tearin' down the walls of segregation!
I don't know how one could not be inspired to be pissed off at racists. If you ever get the chance to catch the video of the song, do it. After you finish reading this, go to Youtube and type in "dc talk walls".
It just takes one look at the title of "I Luv Rap Music" to see they couldn't totally abandon their hip-hop roots. It's a rap song about loving rap music. You got your beatz and teh synth, and you got yourself a single. And what a single it was. You couldn't get this eight-year-old to stop bustin' it to this jam in '95. Sadly, that's all Dc Talk could do with this album, make catchy tunes that wouldn't last a year afterwards. The only song that has no replay value is the incredibly boring "Things of This World", which resorts to monotonous singing for its duration no matter if Rap, Rock or Soul is taking over the vocals.
With that said, Dc Talk did eventually come around. I'm sure some of you remember the Jesus Freak
and even Supernatural
days. We remember them, partly because they were great records that were relevant at the time and still hold some albeit miniscule power today. This album does not. Toby Mac is wearing a fanny pack on the cover.