Album Review: Fearless- Group 1 Crew

If it seems like it’s been a long time since you heard from Group 1 Crew, it has.

The crew is back with Fearless, one of its most genre-bending, infectious efforts to date.

According to its website, the group, which consisted of Blanca Reyes (lead vocals), Manwell Reyes (vocals and rap), Pablo Villatoro (vocals and rap) and Ben Callahan (background vocals and percussion), had been on a hiatus of sorts because they were going through growing pains.

In the past couple of years,  Blanca’s father died; she  married Ben  and the Pablo left the group.

Blanca said, “One of the main changes personally is balancing being married with going on the road, and professionally, that we went from a trio to a duo.”

“That was a very scary transition as we waited to see what God had in store for Group 1 Crew after, plus right around that time, I also lost my father. So there were certainly some big tribulations and hurdles we went through, but also some really great things like marriage, all of which really added to the record and gave Fearless a lot of heart.”

These upheavals left the group wondering whether or not to go on.

Manwell said,  “Throughout all the soul-searching, we found a sense of purpose, realizing the group wasn’t just a group of convenience, but of necessity. We’ve been on the road playing music and filling voids for a lot of people. We’ve had so many people tell us that they found us to be a breath of fresh air, which made us feel like we have a sense of duty to continue.”

After deciding to press on, the group focused its energy on creating, Fearless.

Here’s what you can expect on the album.

His Kind Of Love opens the album to a promising start. It’s a mid-tempo song with lovely arrangement.We hear Manwell sing, not rap, in this song which is actually refreshing because he is a good singer. Blanca also sings passionately on the song. This track deals with the question, “How does one fully comprehend, describe, explain and sing about God’s kind of love?”

The Difference is the first dance song on the album,and it is the best in my opinion. The blend of Blanca and Manwell’s voice on this well-produced track make it a fun song. On top of all that,  it still manages to possess a positive gospel message.

He Said, the chart-topping first single from the album, is a pop song with good melodies and flow. It focuses on remembering what God said– His promises and how He won’t give us more that we could take. The track is a departure from what G1C is best known for, but with the help of Chris August who sings on the second verse, they soar.

G1C fans will love Dangerous. It’s an example of the G1C we all know and love. Everything, from the title of the song to the beats and Manwell’s delivery, meld nicely.  The hip-hop beats and fresh urban vibes of G1C tell us to live dangerously for Christ; risk it all for Christ and be more like Him.

Going Down will make you want to “get crunk.” The song has the sick flow of Dirty South hip-hop. I can see a lot of folks two stepping to this one. Who says just cos you are a Christian you can’t have fun and two-step a little for yourself and for God’s glory.

The album title track Fearless is indeed fearless and fierce. It’s one of the most powerful songs on the album. It could easily be an anthem for Christian soldiers ready who march fearlessly into the battle field of  life. The only thing that would’ve made the song more powerful, in my opinion, is if there was another guest vocalist or a mass choir that chimed in at the end.

Mr. & Mrs. ( I Do This For You) is an easy-going song about relationships, building a home and sacrificing for a better friendship and relationship. Unfortunately it is one of the songs that doesn’t really stand out for some strange reason.

Darkest Valley features Flame and Thomas Ware; it is a rap song about walking through some of life’s darkest valleys and having Jesus save us and bring light to our lives.  Manwell raps “I lived a life of hell then I got saved.”  It’s a good effort, but the song  falls short due to arrangement and production issues.

Not The End of Me is a song about moving on after  bad relationships. Sometimes people come into our lives and somehow things don’t work out so you have to pick yourself up and move on because it is all a part of God’s plan. Considering the tough few years they had this song must be a really personal one for G1C.

Freq Dat and Night of My Life are both dance songs reminiscent of  of the Black Eyed Peas. Though the songs could’ve been great and added to the album, they don’t; they seemed rushed and ended up seeming cheesy.

Though Freq Dat and Night of My Life had me scratching my head, I can forgive G1C, because of the next track, Stepping Out.  Stepping Out encourages us to take a step and let things flow; if we fail and fall it is all in God’s hands, so let go and let God. Blanca does all the singing in this song and Manwell harmonizes and sings backup.

The urban uplifting song Forsaken closes the album with the message of trusting God’s grace and knowing that he has our back.

In conclusion Fearless is an happy, fun, easy-going urban album with a lot of great messages. The album has no “in-betweeners;” the songs are either exceptionally good or exceptionally cliché and cheesy. Fearless is not a mind-blowing album but nonetheless an enjoyable record which will get a lot of air-play and probably snag a few awards.

Best Songs

Fearless

He Said

His Kind of Love

Stepping Out

Forsaken

Going Down

 

Advertisements

GET INSPIRED : 10 WORSHIP SONGS OF THE MOMENT

Welcome to another installment of GET INSPIRED today I want to share with you ten worship numbers of the moment that I love, I virtually listen to these songs every time I set out to worship God. So I want you to join in and worship with me, these songs will help take you to that worship place.

Psalm 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

We worship God cos we must, God is too great, holy, mighty for us not to humbly bow before him

Psalm 96:9  O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. 

You can worship God anywhere and at anytime as long as you do it earnestly, in spirit and in truth. It don’t need to be only in church or inside you room or house.

John 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

We tend to worship things of the world making them our idols and all but what and who we should really worship is God.

With You – James Fortune

This song is off James Fortune most recent album Identity, James and Fiyah worship the lord because with Him we find our strength, with Him we are protected cos there is no body greater than God.


Overcome – Jeremy Camp

Pastor, Worship Leader, Songwriter and Lyricist adores Jesus in this song. He lifts Jesus’s name because He never sinned yet He took all our sins, He became sin for us. He saved us all so He is worthy and deserves all the glory because he overcame, He faced the trials of this world yet He overcame for our sake. Great is the name of Jesus. This is such a great worship song.

Oh Our Lord – All Sons and Daughters

This is my favorite song from All Sons and Daughters, reminds me of The Civil Wars (the band). Their voices on this song is perfect and compliments each other, the harmonization is top-notch and all to the glory of God. They lift God’s name in this beautiful song so join in and lift God’s name. “….Oh oh oooo our lord how majestic is your name in all the earth…..”

Slow – Andrey Assad

This song is another lovely soulful piece taken from the critic acclaimed album Heart by Audrey Assad. She just has an amazing voice, song is highly based on faith but non-the-less is a worship song to me.

Rest – Beckah Shae

This one of the best and innovative worship songs i have heard all year, it is not your everyday worship song but it hits home! It is so soothing and smooth. It is about resting in God, just relaxing and letting him take charge. Song shows how great God is and how little our troubles are, all we need do is relax and look up to him. Just like Audrey’s song it is not a straight forward worship song but the serenity of the song and what its message can as well make it a worship song.

Oh Lord Your Beautiful – Brian Johnson

I recently watched a special on Brian Johnson where he did a number of songs in the studio with a bunch of people just there worshiping with him, kind of reminded me f what Aaron Keyes did with In The Living Room. So immediately I downloaded the album titled Love Came Down and the song is just a pure worship acoustic album and I choose this song cos it was the song I first watched when I tuned to the channel to watch his special.

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) – Matt Redman

This song is taken from Matt Redman’s album of the same name and it is another amazing worship sing-along song. And it has this very cool video where Matt and his band performs the song in an empty cathedral (you all know my love for cathedrals haha). We have a trillion reasons to sing and glorify and worship God’s holy name.

Lamb of God – Tenth Avenue North

The song is taken from the band’s latest album The Struggle which is barely two weeks old since its release, it happens to be the last track but one of my favorite from the album.

Nobody Greater – Vashawn Mitchell

Vashawn has a new album which I am yet to get but this song is from his old album from 2010 and it is a song that my Pastor loved and sang over and over again, but recently I found myself falling in love with this song all over again. The title of the song itself says it all…. NOBODY GREATER. This is Vashawn at his best, perfect  modern-day worship song!

 Cornerstone – Hillsong

I honestly try to keep up with Hillsong’s new releases and albums but sometimes I can’t. This is the latest from Hillsong united and it is called Cornerstone and also from the album of the same name. Most of Hillsong’s album is always a live recorded one, this one right here had me all teary eyed and on my knees in worship. Check it Out.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/iTxafiWXZOw&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Hebrews 12:28  Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. (MSG)

A BIG THANK YOU AND THE UNDERGROUND SITE

THE UNDERGROUND SITE

Hello People, so it has been amazing these two months since i started blogging, i really cant believe the number of hits i get on the blog daily and i want to say thank you for checking in and reading, for not allowing me to be up here talking, ranting and rumbling to myself 🙂 i really do appreciate you all.

So barely two months after starting out here, I am glad to tell you all that i now have the opportunity to become part of something new and bigger; a ministry/Site called THE UNDERGROUND SITE. It is an online christian magazine which brings to people Christian stories and news from around the world, devotionals, art and culture, life changing messages etc. I am an Editor, Contributing Writer and Columnist for this ministry.  My column is called STORIES OF GRACE AND LIGHT  so always look out for it. God had a plan when i started this blog and i can see he was just prepping me for this. Some may see it as something small but i see it as an opportunity for me to be part of something bigger, a bigger platform to help share the message of God and help bless people and as well as bring glory to God. So i am very pleased and grateful for this opportunity.

This blog WILL still exist as a matter of fact but don’t fail to join me at TUS, i want you all to be frequent visitors to the site, because it is a Christian Magazine like no other.

Peace,
Michael Ernest.

Though It Tarries, Smile And Wait For It…..

The best teachings one can give is one that has been experienced and the best lessons comes from experience. So today I want to talk to you about something I am going through personally. It’s about not giving up, waiting for a brighter day, looking and feeling positive regardless of the present situation of things.

For one my life isn’t perfect and I am still waiting and hoping for better days and for a whole lot of things to fall into place, people look at me and say hey Michael what’s up? What’s new? And expect to hear about the new things, accomplishments, achievements etc in your life and when you tell them “same old” two things always happen

1. Their faces lights up as if they are secretly happy that you are stagnant.

2. They look into your eyes and show concern, support and understanding.

Anyway I am not here to talk about what other people think about your condition but what you think about it and how you carry on.  To be really honest staying positive, smiling and keeping your head up is one of the most difficult things to do when life and things are going tough, at that point every single thing you said about not giving up seems to fly out the window but knowing God and remembering all his promises to those who love him makes it a lot easier to look at the brighter side even in the darkest of times. So when you feel as if things are not working out remember his promises of never forsaking his children, remember that he will see you through and your situation will pass.

It is also important to remember to smile while waiting and while facing our storms/battles. Try not to take it out on others because everyone is going through a storm, heading into a storm or just coming out from a storm one way or the other. As difficult as it may get remember to smile for God is in control.  Learn how to let go and let God.

Mat 6:25  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Mat 6:26  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Mat 6:27  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

I love NIV and in NIV verse 27 says

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

All what I am saying and sharing with you is more like words I am telling myself to strengthen my faith but I choose to type it out and I hope it reaches to someone else out there too. You guys know I am crazy about good stories so let me share two… Continue reading

Tattoos: Sinful? My Two Cents On Tattoos And The Bible

 

So here I am again about to talk (write) about tattoos, I wish this will be the very last time I will be addressing this issue (but if only wishes were horses right?).

Tattoo is one of those things that brings about so much debate when it comes to religion and what the bible says about it. If you have a tattoo you will know the number of times someone gave you a side-eye or frowned at you because of it, talk less of the people who will out rightly tell you that you will end up in hell for marking your body and you get even judged by people living deeply in sins of their own I mean sins that the bible  has warned us again again and again about (yes you guessed right I am talking about sexual immorality).  I am not here to talk about sins and mankind today but in due time I believe I will because one thing is for sure I will not shy away from anything I feel is the truth in this blog even if I am also guilty of it.

I have three tattoos on my body which I will talk about in another blog post and the stories behind each of them too. You will not believe the number of times I have debated this tattoo case both online and in real life and it gets really funny when people can’t actually pinpoint or back up what “the bible says”. So I have decided to break them down one after the other.

First and foremost I want to establish that the laws from the old testament are referred to as the “Old Laws” and the teachings of the new testament the “New Laws”. The old laws were handed down to the people so that the will shun pagan practices and seek the one and only true God and live in accordance to what was right at the time in preparation for Jesus to come.

(Deu 7:6)  For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

The old laws are outlined in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The children of God really did pick up a lot of false religion and practices from the land of slavery so the had to be this strict laws to set them straight in the ways of God. Now the question is why the “New Laws” I will like to make an earthly example about the laws that were set by man though God is no man just trying to make a point. Remember when the blacks were not allowed to vote? When women didn’t have equal rights? And the were laws that allowed and permitted this but these laws were later amended and changed. Yes the old laws of the bible were incomplete I wont use the word flawed but incomplete.

  • The old laws allows war and retaliation
  • The old laws allows discrimination
  • The old laws doesn’t forgive sins(since only the love of God can do that)
  • The old laws suggests that acting according to the law and written code are the only criteria for peace and eternal life (but grace based on faith is what we need for eternal life as Jesus stated).
  • The old laws relies on fear of punishment rather that the love of God. Continue reading

GET INSPIRED : Six Insipring Songs Of The Moment

Welcome to my very first music-related post, this will be the first of many. So today I will be introducing or re-introducing six songs I recently discovered that for the moment inspire me a lot or stir up something in my soul. Some of these songs are relatively old, I guess I have been living under a rock but still there are a blessing to me right now.

 

 

My Own Little Word – Matthew West

Its the song that made me get Matthew West’s album ( I just discovered him), it is the most incredible written song in the album in my opinion. I reckon you also get the album called The Story Of Your Life, apparently it is from 2010 but is is amazing. Before he wrote and record the album he asked his fans to send him letters about their life, joy, struggles and he got 10.000, he rented a cabin and read all the letter and then from the letters he wrote the album and it birthed this beautiful arrangement of songs about  pain, confusion, depression which God can take away due to his love, grace and mercy. Album preaches a message of hope and God’s power in the midst of everything. Okay here I am reviewing the album lol. REnjoy the song.

 

 

Clear the Stage – Jimmy Needham

I started writing a post that will come on this blog when I FINALLY finish, it is based on our love for things or people and how we put them before God thus making them our idols. So Clear the Stage talks about the same thing. My friend asked me to go listen to this song and she told me that she took three hours to listen to 4mins that the greatness of the song was too much to take it in all at once and I understood what she meant being a music lover. It is indeed a beautiful song even though I didn’t experience the same feeling she did, love the song nonetheless.

 

 

Our Sovereign God – Aaron Keyes

Okay this song right here sends me straight to tears (well not cry like cry but teary eyes), only gospel songs have the power to do that. It is a perfect worship song and I LOVE this song, the lyrics are great and the instrumentation and arrangement is perfect and above all it connects me with God once the first line rolls in no matter where I am it’s like I immediately get into the spirit.

 

 

The Well – Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns is one of my favourite christain bands and I loved their last album and when I thought it couldn’t get any better they came out with Come To The Well which is an amazing album, The Well happens to be a song on the album. We know the story of Jesus at the well and what he said that we should drink from his living water so we will never thirst no more. No matter the kind of thirst leave it all behind and come to the well. The song reminds us of the message and significance of leaving it all behind and going to the well (Jesus). Other noteable songs from the album are Jesus, Friend of Sinners and City on the Hill.

 

 

I Wont Go Back – William McDowell

William is one of those worship leaders I love and admire and I was just coming out of an old bad habit I have been fighting for a long time and then I heard I Wont Go Back and it broke my heart, it was as if God sent me the song at that particular moment saying Michael you cant go back to your past life. Song says ‘I wont go back I cant go back to the way it used to be before your presence came and changed me… all my sins have been forgiven no more chains….my past is over”. It is a song about freedom from sin, bondage and bad habits. Every now and then when the temptation crawls in I will say out 1 Cor 10:13  and play this song.

 

 

Where I Belong – Building 429

This song is a reminder that we are not of this world, and that our home is in heaven and with Jesus. Nice tune love the part that say “take this world and give me Jesus cos this is not where i belong”.

I hope you enjoyed my list and yes these songs mean a lot to me. Please do share songs that are inspiring you too.

GRAPHIC VIDEO: Tunisian Man Beheaded For Converting To Christianity

A  very graphic video of a Christian man being beheaded by Muslim extremists for converting from Islam to Christianity recently  surfaced online and i got to see this brutality this morning. Footage of the incident, which reportedly took place in Tunisia, shows a young man being held down like “an animal” with a knife to his throat. The video—be warned, it is immensely graphic  (the actual execution appears from minute 1:13). For those who prefer not to view it because I couldn’t bring myself to watch it and i did throw up a little in my mouth, this is so sad.

  • beheading in tunisia

Video footage of the incident shows a young man being held down by masked men. His neck is pulled back, with a knife to his throat. One of the masked men, who was not in the camera’s view, chants a number of Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity.

The man holding the knife begins to cut to the cries of “Allahu Akbar!” (or “God is great!”), as the victim appears to be mouthing a prayer. The slicing takes about two minutes before the beheading is complete–upon which they shouted more Islamic cries and slogans of victory.

 

Continue reading

Why Does God Allow Suffering And Tragedy?

So i promised my twitter followers yesterday that i will share this amazing message here on the blog for people to see, i hope this message gives you some form of understanding, closure and peace as it gave me.

so here goes:

It was the worst mass shooting in American history – 70 people shot by a gunman, 12 of them killed, while they were watching the midnight showing of a new movie just 21 miles from where we’re sitting. There are no words to describe the anguish being felt by those who are suffering today; our heart and prayers have – and will – go out to them. There are so many tragic stories, so much pain. And many people are asking the question, “Why? Why did God allow this?”

This has been a heart-rending summer for Colorado. First came the wildfires, which ravaged the houses of hundreds of our neighbors – and prompted many of them to ask the question, “Why?”
And those two tragic events are on top of the everyday pain and suffering being experienced in individual lives – maybe including yours. There’s illness, abuse, broken relationships, betrayal, sorrow, injuries, disappointment, heartache, crime and death. And perhaps you’ve been asking the question, “Why? Why me? Why now?”
That “why” question goes back thousands of years. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. And the 21st Century didn’t start any better. There was 9/11 and now the Syrian slaughters, and on and on. Why all of this if there’s a loving and powerful God? Why do bad things happen to good people?

Several years ago, I commissioned a national survey and asked people what question they’d ask if they could only ask God one thing. The Number One response was: “Why is there suffering in the world?” Incidentally, I did find an interesting statistical quirk – people who are married were much more likely to want to know why there’s so much suffering. I’m just sayin’.
But if you’ve never asked why our world is infected with pain and suffering, you will when they strike you with full force or they come to a loved one. And Jesus said they are coming. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as just being illusions, Jesus was honest. He told us the truth. He said in John 16:33, “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might – he said it is going to happen.

Continue reading