Word Label Group / Curb Records
Release Date: July 23rd 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- All Is True
- We Goin Up
- Glory On Me (feat. Childish Major & Taylor Hill)
Rap music… hasn’t been my cup of tea, probably all throughout my life I think. Though I am becoming more and more familiar and accustomed to rap music in general; when I was younger, I only listened to Carman and Delirious?, with me branching out to other CCM music in 2006, and mainstream music in 2018. But throughout everything that I have reviewed on this site (read them here!) and throughout everything that we’ve blogged about; rap music hasn’t been high on our list to cover. It’s not that Jon and I don’t appreciate such music. We do. I’m constantly in awe of Lecrae and his contemporaries, artists like KB, Andy Mineo, NF, Social Club Misfits and Derek Minor, at how they can spit bars and run lines extremely well, and point people to Jesus at the same time. On the flipside, artists like Eminem, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z do nothing for me, and I don’t have an inkling to listen to any type of music that doesn’t draw me closer to Jesus, mainstream rap included. Yet with the release this year of Steven Malcolm’s new EP All Is True (Jon reviewed Steven’s song “Even Louder” with Natalie Grant… but that was a worship/CCM track!); I thought that the time was right to voice my thoughts on these 11 tracks. While Jon has blogged about Lecrae, and I about NF (Nate Feuerstein), and I have reviewed NF’s Clouds… there hasn’t been much more coverage of rap over the past few years. Hence I’ve come forth with an open mind into All Is True… and let me tell you that objectively this project is good, but rap in large doses still gives me a headache, and still reaffirms my assertion that this type of music isn’t really my favourite type of music when I need to listen to some inspiration or even for background music. This EP titled gives the impression of some sort of universalism though… but listening to this EP reminds us of many different layers to religion and to our relationship with God, and speaks about the fact that every song on this EP is true for Steven, and is personal to him in his walk with Jesus.
There’s nothing objectively wrong with rap music. It takes a certain type of skill to be vulnerable and voice your inner most thoughts and then to say them all out-loud, at a quick pace and still be coherent enough for listeners to understand everything that’s being said and conveyed. But for me, listening to a rap album means I need to concentrate, and to be frank, when we are all busy and fill our day up with lots and lots and lots of things, and especially when we are at home because of the pandemic, then listening to and reviewing a rap album isn’t a priority. Actually making it through listening to All Is True , like with Clouds, to be honest, took a very long time, given that this album isn’t in my preferred genre of what I would normally listen to, and what I would consider to be a safe option. However, as this year is the year that I’ve felt that I have grown the most with regard to music and what I listen to; let me say that there are still some tracks on Steven’s EP that are compelling and inspiring. The title track is a commanding and pulsating 2 minute verseless, chorusless free-verse melody, whereby Steven tells his testimony and how he was almost aborted. Coming from a broken home with an absent father and an alcoholic mother, Steven turned to basketball and his heroes Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan to guide him in his walk. And as the song progresses, Steven ‘sings’ about finding Jesus (although it’s done covertly in this track), and speaks about how all of the songs and raps he has released throughout his entire career has been for his fans and for those who love and appreciate him. “We Goin’ Up”, a song that unashamedly speaks about Steven’s rise, also relays the conclusion that Steven must be doing something right in this world, and that God must be blessing him greatly; while “Andale” is a track that earnestly and eloquently encourages men to stay faithful to their spouses, and to never cheat when the opportunity presents itself.
“Autopilot”, another free-verse type track, has Steven calling out the haters, and reminding them all that God has blessed him greatly, and that He can bless all of us as well if we allow Him. All Is True then ends with the testimony type/worship melody “Glory On Me” with Childish Major and Taylor Hill. A collaboration that is one of the most vibrant and dynamic since Lecrae’s duet with Tori Kelly; this melody reminds us to always give God the praise, honour, glory and recognition when it is due.
Steven Malcolm is a talented rapper, singer and songwriter. All Is True is incredibly underrated. But I myself still don’t feel as compelled to rap music than when I first started listening to this EP. And with that, I’ll leave this review of sorts by saying- it’s true that I do appreciate Steven for what a talented rapper he is. But let me say that I’m not a fanatical fan of his like other listeners… and that’s ok. I still don’t think I can sit through an album of full on rap (I think it took me over 1 hour to write this review and listen to these tracks!), and that’s ok. All Is True is a compelling and moving album- but I wouldn’t listen to it in one sitting again. And that’s ok. Can’t we appreciate something as great art without fully resonating with it? So let me spin some Riley Clemmons, for KING & COUNTRY, Jordan Smith and Josh Wilson now, get back into my preferred genre… So Steven, what about a Christmas album?
3 songs to listen to: All Is True, Autopilot, Glory On Me
RIYL: KB, Blanca, Group 1 Crew, Lecrae, Andy Mineo, KJ-52