*Review* “Tough Love and Parables” – @mynameisbizzle

In my memory, there hasn’t been a buzz as big as this for a debut album in Christian Hip-Hop circles.

Bizzle, the Christian rapper who burst onto the scene last January with the “Explaining to Do” expose’ on Jay-Z’s illuminati/Masonic ties, presents to the world his debut album, “Tough Love and Parables”. Bizzle has, to date, released three mixtapes in his “Messenger” series. Messenger one last March, Messenger 2 last June, and Messenger 3 this past January. Each mixtape is available free of charge at http://www.iambizzle.com/

The album starts with an acapella intro verse. The verse doubles as a prayer and mission statement. The basic sentiment is that this world is used to evil, and that the truth has been suppressed. He asks God to correct him if he isn’t speaking the truth in love, but also points out the hypocrisy of most listeners who shun righteous “judging” and trade back their own form of judging.

EX: “if him saying thuggin’ is wrong is judging you/ then calling him a ‘square’ for not thuggin’ is judging too”

Biz also assaults the tendency of many in the public to defend those who are in the wrong by saying “he’s just trying to provides for his kids” pointing to the fact that there are those who speak up against the lawlessness and are killed for “snitchin” comparing the two vastly different forms of protecting ones family and children. Bizzle comes to give balance to our judgement scales according to the Bible.

The album transitions to “Long Time Comin”, a southern track that samples Sam Cooke’s iconic lines from “Change Gone Come”. Bizzle laments over the shunning from those he seeks to help with his stance against the lies given in most hip-hop music. Biz also exhorts the listener to walk uprightly and be an example of right living for their kids.

The next track is “15 Seconds”, it was originally seen on “Messenger 2”. Bizzle vows to use whatever attention he gets in his “15 seconds of fame” to tell the truth about the lies many have bought into. He also exhorts listeners to make a decision to stand against evil

After that is “Stand Up”, another song aimed to rally listeners to stand even against the masses. Bizzle tells the listener to “take off the running shoes and put the work boots on” while moving toward changing.

“Better Way” is the lead single featuring P-Dub aka Willie Moore Jr. Bizzle uses the track to tell stories, or parables, of those living the street life and pointing to a better way.

Next is “God Over Money” an anthem track, with an anthem hook. “I am a G.O.M’er, courtesy of G O D fo eva’, its God over money, and money over NOTHING, it only got the power that you give it when you love it”

“Somebody” is a track that Biz tells the story of Jay. The smooth track has the feel of a back in the day, reminiscing song. Through the song, Bizzle shows the consequences of making the wrong decisions in life and how they affect the people who love you most. This is a track essential to the project and is, in my opinion the best song on the album. Bizzle tells us that there is somebody that “sticks closer than a brother.”

“Don’t Throw It” is a track aimed at the sisters. You know the message; don’t throw it (your body) around carelessly. “Treat it like it’s worth something.”

“I’m Tryna Go” features Mouthpi3ce. The track sounds a little cheesy, but they make up for it with solid verses. Both pledge allegiance to the Lord and express willingness to serve the Lord in any capacity.

“I’ll Holla” is another exceptional track. It has a summertime feel, although the hook chant of “I’ll Holla” borders on something that’ll make you skip to the next verse.

“You Don’t Know” is a simple track, but the lyrical display on it covers that. In the third verse, Bizzle illustrates the father-child relationship and the foresight God has on how money and things would “spoil” us. If you are a parent, you withhold candy from your children, because you know it will cause stomachaches and cavities. Bizzle tells us that “Love” is not a “yes-man”, but will lovingly check you for your safety.

“This Ain’t Love” draws resemblance musically to “Maybach Music Pt. 2” by Rick Ross, but Bizzle, Lavoisier and Sevin go #GodOverMoneyAOMegaHOGMob on the track while explaining that Love has been taught to us wrong, we display fickle, self-seeking love.

The album ends with “Forgive Me” featuring Jin. Yes, Jin tha MC from Freestyle Friday fame. Both MC’s crack open their skeleton closets and dump the contents OUT.

This album is a solid entry, and accents the talents of Bizzle as a storyteller and highlights his picture-painting skills. Using vivid, yet realistic examples of compromise we see daily, he challenges us all to make a stand for righteousness.In my opinion some tracks could’ve used some reworking , but a good heart and solid to exceptional rhymes make this a good project.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Standout Tracks: “Stand Up”, “God Over Money”, “Somebody”, “You Don’t Know”, “This Ain’t Love”, “Forgive Me”

The “Air” Up There Is Thin

There will NEVER be another Michael Jordan. Period.

Obviously, this statement isn’t meant in the literal sense of those words, but in the skill-set, personality, determination, and drive that made him the quintessential athlete of the 90’s, the NBA, and a generation.

“His Airness” thrived on being told that he couldn’t, he thrived on adversity in a way unseen before, and highly likely NEVER to be duplicated. We know some of the famous slights, like being cut from his High School basketball team. In the 80’s he was told he couldn’t and wouldn’t get past the Celtics and Pistons. He was told he was only a scorer. These “criticisms” drove Jordan to become what the media and opponents said he couldn’t be.

Jordan has become the model for the high-flying, super-athletic, swingman. This is dangerous.

We can’t keep looking for the “next Jordan” like we have in the past with among others, Harold Minor, Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose. Such a lofty expectation is unhealthy for these players.

Although many, if not all players want to “be like Mike” to hold anyone who flashes a resemblance to Jordan is unreasonable.

No player can live up to the “Jordan template”.

Jordan himself didn’t have a template to live up to, and if he did, it was NO where near the shadow that Jordan has left on his position and the league he reigned in. If Jordan played straight thru the 90’s, (we can safely assume) that he would have held eight of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players without a title during his run of dominance. Jordan broke the hearts of opponents with his last second shots and sheer dominance, through sickness, like the ‘97 NBA Finals, through tough emotions like the ’96 Finals, through pressure, like his first championship run, and he was the best player on the floor EVERY night. Six NBA Finals, six NBA Finals MVP awards. That is a tall order for anyone to live up to.

I propose: That since Jordan had no guide or template to live up to, we hold no one to his standards UNTIL they approach that level of accomplishment, until these and other players prove themselves to dominate despite adversity, please, no mentions in the stratosphere of “His Airness”.