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CD REVIEW: Maine Attraction - "Thug 4 God"
By Gian F - 04/26/2003 - 03:16 AM EDT

Artist: Band: Maine Attraction
Album: Thug 4 God
CD Review: Genre: Rap
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 7
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7
Commercial Value: 7
Overall Talent Level: 8
Songwriting Skills: 7
Performance Skill: 8
Best Songs: I Got Married, Push Em Up, Thug 4 God, Can I Pray With You
Weakness: ?
CD Review: In Oakland, California there is a musical and spiritual revival taking place in Gospel Rap music and it's being lead by Jermaine Ashley of Maine Attraction. This CD ("Thug 4 God") has all of the commercial appeal and marketability of a top "street" rap album, but delivers positive messages in a powerful and direct manner that never comes across as being judgmental or preachy. Sometimes the messages are cleverly accompanied by hard core terminology like "busting slugs," but Jermaine quickly clarifies that the only "slugs" he's busting are the ryhmes he creates about the joy of finding God.

Crafting songs that maintain street appeal and a radio-friendly quality is a difficult task. Adding a religious element to the equation often dilutes the achievement in both areas. Jermaine has met that challenge courageously and with poetic results. "Can I Pray With You" has the child-like simplicity and infectiousness of Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life." For those who prefer to get their "groove on" with more upbeat rap tracks, Maine Attraction has got two dance tracks ("I Got Married" and "Push Em Up") that will quickly and easily make you forget that you are listening to a religious album. They are by far the strongest independent rap tracks I have heard this year - religious or otherwise.

Advice: Be patient in your pursuit of success. Religious rap is dealt with very cautiously at record companies because they (executives) feel that it has limited appeal. Find a strong marketing angle and move forward with confidence. This is soul food for those in need of hope, and something different.

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