Fifty Stories: You've Got To Hear This!

Rap music shouldn’t be confined to expletives and shallowness. Today, too many rappers (I hesitate to call them rap “artists” because they no more make art than the Clinton’s make good leaders) are stuck. They’re stuck on money, drugs, sex, rims and jewelry; they’re stuck in a dream whose reality is but a blistering nightmare. Yet, with his self-titled album, Fifty Stories has brought salvation to the rap scene.

Based out of Cincinnati, Fifty Stories (a.k.a. Chris Deering) has birthed a record that is both lyrically and instrumentally wise. Years in the making, this collection of songs leads us out of superficiality and delivers us from monotony. On the real—this record’s got substance!

Whereas most rap albums are one-dimensional, listening to this record is like putting on 3D glasses. Fifty Stories—a tag descriptive of a fella who is prone to sharing the narratives of his life—leads his listeners through city streets, college campuses, family rooms and sacred spaces and he does this, all while making them nod their heads. Indeed, in the truest sense of the term, Fifty Stories is a rap “artist” whose debut release is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Though a variety of themes drive the c.d. one recurrent and recognizable element is that of faith. While he is not a confessed “Christian rapper” (perhaps because he is neither hokey nor Bible Thumping), Fifty Stories is a certainly a man whose lyrics and life are Christ-shaped. From where I stand, there isn’t even a Christian rapper who has ever produced something of this quality.

Clocking in at just under an hour, the c.d. contains 11 tracks. The album starts out with “Some Call It Cincinnati,” a song that asks listeners to pause, take note of what’s going on around them and to learn from it. Touching on issues such as greed, sin and ethnic reconciliation, this track leads smoothly into its follow “Wake Up.” One of the most sophisticated titles on the disc, this track’s chorus says that it’s time to “Wake up” and “Take off the mask and the makeup”.

The third offering on this album actually debuts Fifty’s wife. In addition to her melodic voice, the two rhyme about faithfulness, social justice and unity. Track four has a dope 70’s feel to it and is a song Fifty dedicates to his girl. The follow offers a twist on Psalm 14 and is by far, one of the catchiest on the record. It is songs number six and seven, though, that have the potential to make this record soar! Number six, “Back When We Were Young” has an unforgettable hook and brings about nostalgia in those who hear it. Seven, “Exit Wounds” is the record’s hit. Reflecting on his childhood struggles through the adoption process, his teenage years as the beginning of a spiritual journey and his adult years in the city, this song will make listeners hit the “repeat” button.

Track eight, “Yeah,” a song about the first becoming last, has a southern feel to it. This song actually leads into three acoustic renditions of earlier tracks. Some might see this as a risk but in my opinion, these adaptations showcase Fifty Stories’ talent and musical genius. One is reminded by these three tracks of Lauryn Hill’s passion-filled acoustic album—certainly, nothing less could be said of these! This is the kind of album that anyone embarking on a spiritual search or needing some direction in life, must listen to.

Click the following link to hear some samples: Fifty Stories Samples

Also, click the following link to purchase the album or individual songs: Fifty Stories.

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