Hip-Hop Comes Together For Higher Cause

The Hip-Hop Alliance (Forefront Records)
Various Artists

By Amanda Hettinger

I have never really been one to jump in the car and head off to an organized religious event let alone join in during a hymn if I do make it to a mass, mostly by my mother's demands.

The American public is currently witnessing the upsurge of religious based artists in all genres from traditional gospel to rock to hip-hop.

Coalition: The Hip-Hop Alliance is a 14 track compilation disc gathered together under Forefront Records in 2000. The disc may be reaching two years old, but let us remember that good things come to those with patience. Though the compilation does have Christian themes, even the mildest of churchgoers will find that the beats and voices carry the tracks to an elevated and unlabeled level.

LA Symphony opens up with "Sea Breeze (Revisited)." A very happy-go-lucky tone with a Caribbean groove, this track makes you forget your troubles. Think Shaggy, but not so played out. Even if you don't have it all by society's standards, this track will make you think that you are indeed living the good life.

With heavy emphasis on piano rhythms, the brother and sister team of New Breed has created a soothing ghetto lullaby in "Chill" that is reminiscent of early Outkast tracks. Addressing typical teenage and young adult concerns, the Brooklyn hip-hop family soothes our anger and confusion with reliance on determination and success.

For giggles there is Relentless' "Idiot Box" that addresses the current (and rather drawn out) fascination with television talk shows like Judge Judy and Jerry Springer. The message is as simple as the beat: turn off the box and pick up a book, things are a bit more fascinating and not as redundant.

4th Avenue Jones' "Move the Crowd" is an elevated version of Black Eyed Peas and Mos Def. Longtime friends (two of them are married), Jones' has a strong beat and deep lyrics that are very much like the Refugee All Stars. If only the originals got back together one more time, huh?

Royal Ruckus' "A Las Chicas" is a lighthearted ditty that gives away the youngsters' age via the message, but their flows are beyond their age. Resembling something straight out of Touchstone Picture's "Crazy Beautiful," this Latin track will keep you moving while reminding you of days long gone. Listen closely and the young duo is speaking higher than young love and flirtation.

Do not be put off by the religious undertones, which are very hidden in some tracks. You don't come across many solid and diverse hip-hop compilations these days. If you love the hip-hop culture you will love Coalition: The Hip-Hop Coalition.