Songs of Zion
TJ Fredette “In the Blink of an Eye”
For a long time, I’ve been saying that I want to see a full spectrum of LDS music. I want to see hard rock and rock lite (“One third the noise of our regular music”), and country, and pop, and urban, and yes, even hip-hop and rap.
I’ve long thought that if there were a good member of the church, that did good rap, it would find a place in the youth of the church.
Now, whenever I mention that, someone inevitably brings up the “Mormon Rap” song that was done by the Walter and Hayes band many years ago. That was a fun tune, but it wasn’t at ALL real rap. It wasn’t meant to be. It was a novelty tune.
Well, over time, I’ve run into a small handful of LDS rappers. One of the best I’ve encountered is one from New York named TJ Fredette. I recently got his self-produced CD, entitled “In the Blink of an Eye”. I’ve been listening to it off and on since, and anticipating what I would say about it in my Songs of Zion review.
I hesitated to review it, actually, because his website is currently down for renovations, and in my communication with him I found that he’s got some new material coming out. In fact, he sent me some tunes, and it made me think that I should wait for that release.
But in the end, my excitement won out.
“Blink of an Eye” has some great tunes on it. Let me just say up front that I’m not a rapper, and I’m not very well schooled in the genre. However, I have kept my ear to the ground and I’m liking what I’m hearing here! A big problem I’ve had with other LDS rap in the past is that it ends up sounding like a Sunday school lesson that rhymes. TJ’s material is driving and not at all preachy. It’s not flighty and frivolous, either. It deals with some real life stuff, and I come out learning.
“Drop to My Knees” is by far my favorite on the CD. It’s hooky and memorable, which is tough for a musical styles that doesn’t use melody. There are some schweet samples being used in the background here, too. I think it also has the strongest mix on the CD.
There were a few songs that used a sung chorus. That helped drive in the hooks, too, making those tunes even easier to recall. “Crisis was one”, and “We Don’t Play Around”.
I wish, for all those that enjoy mainstream rap, that I could send you to a site to buy this CD. At best right now, you can download “Drop to My Knees” at http://www.ldsmusicworld.com/artists/tj_fredette.html. As cool as I think these tunes are, I gotta warn you, the stuff coming up is even better. He’s got the same drive and intensity in his vocals, the hooky sung choruses, and on top of that he’s got better production and smoother mixes. He’s truly kicked it up a notch.
But don’t worry, I’ll be going on about that when it comes out in full.
Also, I admit to my ignorance as a non-rapper, but it seems to me that the moniker “TJ Fredette” is not the strongest “nom d’ street” I could come up with… :-)