W.L.A.K. – Self Titled




wlak-album-cover



Collision Records

Released March 5, 2013

Reviewed by Anthony Peronto

Inspired by Romans 8:17, WLAK (We Live as Kings) is the name of the group of artists coming from Collision Records, a growing label in the scene that is steadily gaining ground by realeasing quality hip hop through mixtapes, singles, and Swoope’s phenomenal debut for the label: Wake Up. If there was an overriding theme that shines through almost every song is would be “counting not the suffering of the present time worth to be compared to the glory will be revealed to us.” WLAK consists of Swoope, Alex Faith, Dre Murray, and Christon Gray, who are each talented artists on their own, but come together and create an album that will surely be a standout by years end.

The album starts with an intro that continues where Swoope’s closing track from Wake Up leaves off and quickly makes way for the first single off the album “Imagine.” This song showcases the best of every artist: Murray’s insane flow, Faith’s intense wordplay, Gray’s singing and poetic rapping, and Swoope’s intense wordplay. Not to mention Wit’s superb production, which is just icing on the cake for this wisely chosen single. Christon takes on the majority of “Long Way Down,” a smooth song inspired by John 9 and Luke 10:18. The equivalent to a Reach Records 116 song is the poker-themed “All In” with Murray and Faith giving equally great verses on dynamic production by Dirty Rice. And after Faith’s rapid-fire flow & Swoope’s recognizable production on “Coward” comes the longest track on the album “Reign is Coming.” With Wit, Swoope, & Jospeh Prielozny on production the song addresses rappers that proclaim themselves kings and who the real King is:

These boys make me wanna throw up/ They say they kings but they really need to grow up/ They say they Caesar-boy with a robe on they shoulders/ But all I see is a boy in a oversized toga.”

The second half of the album begins with “YHWH” where Swoope wonders, “how many times are we gonna say the word ‘king’ on this album?” Produced by Swoope & Dirty Rice this is a definite standout, a raise-the-hairs-on-your-head concert-ready banger. Unfortunately the weakest track, due to it’s hook and production, follows afterwards on “ABNY” but ultimately becomes a minor hiccup in an otherwise unblemished record. A plead for change in stagnant Christians and those who chase blind pursuits follow in “Broken Kings”:

“We’ve been battling ourselves like forever/ Dogfight jackals with their tails tied together/ All types of Christian churches and worldviews/ But what about the church the world views?/ They see a perilous voyage into the Dead Sea with some pearless oysters.”

The album slows down a bit with “Eyes For You” and “WLAQ” which has a nice homage to The Flamingo’s I Only Have Eyes For You, with Christon singing not only for his wife but his daughter who’ll soon grow up, which is something I can wholeheartedly relate to. The album comes to close with two tracks “Arena” produced by Wit and “King In Me” produced by Swoope, which can only be described as epic with a capital “E”:

“But we still believe/ His hope has been kept in our hearts from start to bring peace as we wept/ As now as we weep though some are asleep/We long for the day death won’t make a peep.”

I knew with all this combined talent to expect an album that was worth the wait. But listen after listen I came to conclusion that this album is undeniably excellent. The theme is clearly and wonderfully communicated, each artist shines through but came together cohesively, and the record is a fine representation of the record label they come from. Extremely recommended!

Grade: 5

Tracklisting:

  1. Intro ft. Swoope & Wit
  2. Imagine ft. Dre Murray, Alex Faith, Christon Gray, & Swoope
  3. Long Way Down ft. Christon Gray & Dre Murray
  4. All In ft. Alex Faith & Dre Murray
  5. Coward ft. Alex Faith & Dre Murray
  6. Reign Is Coming ft. Swoope, Dre Murray, & Christon Gray
  7. YHWH ft. Swoope & Dre Murray
  8. ABNY (Marty McFly) ft. Swoope & Alex Faith
  9. Broken Kings ft. Alex Faith, Christon Gray, & Swoope
  10. Eyes For You ft. Christon Gray
  11. WLAQ ft. Christon Gray & Swoope
  12. Arena ft. Dre Murray & Christon Gray
  13. King In Me ft. Swoope & Christon Gray



About Anthony Peronto

Anthony Peronto lives in Eagle River, Alaska with his wife and daughter and is a reviewer who loves all genres but focuses on hip-hop and metal. He recently received an associates and is now studying for his bachelors in business administration with the hopes of opening a Christian music store. While he has an equal passion about movies, his favorites bands/artists include: Relient K, House of Heroes, The Classic Crime, Children 18:3, and Anberlin (Rock); Demon Hunter, Norma Jean, The Chariot, Showbread, and Oh, Sleeper (Metal); and Lecrae, Braille, theBreax, K-Drama, and Yaves (Hip-Hop). More Posts

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