Style: rap crossed with hip-hop; compare to John Reuben, Eminem
Top tracks: "Take on the World," "It's a Movement," "You Can Be"
After a troubled upbringing that included abuse, struggles with suicide, and a hard-partying lifestyle, Steven Cooper, better known to fans as Lyrycyst, came to Christ through a friend. Now free of those demons, he's still got his old street-savvy edge while making a career of recording and touring.
With his third full-length album, Revolution, the rapper is at the top of his rhyme and relatability game, pumping up those struggling with self-esteem and other challenges by using his own road to recovery as the forefront example—all with hip-hop rhythms that draw parallels to Eminem, John Reuben and KJ-52.
"It's a Movement" and "Take on the World" are calls to action for believers, but pack enough production smarts to appeal to secular listeners. Acoustic hip-hop reflections like "You Can Be" come across like Mat Kearney's early material. Lyrycyst is by no means derivative, but a developing artist who keeps sharpening his songwriting.
Others worth noting:
Emmanuel Shall Come to TheeNoel
Style: classically-inspired Christmas music
Top tracks: "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "What Child Is This?"
Near operatic vocals jell seamlessly with inventive string and piano arrangements of several traditional tunes, with a handful of original instrumental interludes to usher in a prayerful atmosphere. More: emmanuelshall.com.
Dan Rubright featuring Lydia RuffinChristmas Café
Style: acoustically framed Christmas music
Top tracks: "Mary's Solitude," "Backstreets of Bethlehem"
Self-penned, unplugged tracks centered around holiday themes trump well-performed but generic covers ...1
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