Acts29: Underrated and Underexposed
What was there before Lightheaded? What was there before Ohmega Watts’ The Find, Braille’s Shades of Grey? The answer: Acts:29! Acts:29 was Ohmega Watts, Braille and Soul Plasma with an extended family of Othello (when he was in Lojique), Tiffany Simpson and Ethic. Unfortunately the group only released one album and then disbanded, Underexposed was that album. The group is underrated and with this album being released over five years most us didn’t know they exist…until now. Want to what the Lightheaded crew sounded like before they actually became Lightheaded, well read this review.
The most important positive to point out about Underexposed is the escalation of the album. The album starts off as just three guys getting together, having fun while writing rhymes. But as the album progresses the lyrics get deeper and come from a more religious and personal level. The album begins with “See Clear” simple verse introducing every member of the group. The album ends with “Confessions” one of my favorite tracks of all time lyrically and production wise (more on “Confessions” later).
While the 2/3 of Lightheaded (and the other third being part of the extended family) are part of Acts:29 the album doesn’t sound like any of Lightheaded projects released after Underexposed (hence why this album is a unique GEM). Production is solid though I’m not exactly sure who handled the production, but I do know Braille handled some of it. The only problem with the production is that it didn’t get the treatment that most albums get. In other words I’m not sure the album went in for mixing and final edits (kind of like Theory Hazit’s Lord Fire), a possible explanation is that the album was released independently, but who knows what happened.
“See Clear”, “Blank Minds” and “Shoot Out” are the party tracks, the ones that you need to put in your car stereo, boom box, cassette player whatever and blast so the world can hear these bangers. But like I said as the album progresses the topics get more serious and are more heart-felt. For example “Deja Vu” is a Soul Plasma exclusive track where he raps about his past before turning to God, this track reminds me of some of Theory Hazit’s music. Soul Plasma continues on to say that he doesn’t want to back to what he was (hence the title “déjà vu”) and says that we can all find God.
“Family Life” is the next track which features Othello and a new favorite of mine Tiffany Simpson. If you’ve listened to Ohmega Watts’ The Find she was on the track “Your Love”, she’s a singer. She is featured on six tracks in the album and adds flavor to every single track she is on. Braille, Soul Plasma and Othello handle the verses of this song with Tiffany Simpson handling the chorus. Each of the members cover the easier said than done concept of taking care of a family. All of the members know the hard work and dedication it takes to raise a family and of them rap on how they will be patient and wait for God before trying to start a family.
As the album continues the track “We Know” comes up and it carries the message of “We may be rappers, but we are still human and deal with all problems that you (the listeners) deal with”.
The last two tracks on the album are the two best tracks on the album. “Come On” is a Braille exclusive track that all of you should check out (I’d cover the track, but due to the length of this review I’ll trust you guys to listen to it). The best and last track on the album is “Confessions” verses are handled by Braille and Soul Plasma with Tiffany Simpson making another guest appearance again handling the chorus. “Confessions” is my favorite because the lyrics in the song should relate to just about every Christian’s life. The beat is really hard to explain, but it’s not a hip hop beat, it’s more of a peaceful beat (bad explanation I know…sorry). The artists cover a multitude of topics, confessing sins, going to God with any and every problem you have. The only problem I have with this song is the length. It would’ve been nice to see Ohmega get a verse in this song because it is the climax of the album and the best way to end it.
I honestly would prefer the Acts:29 crew over the Lightheaded crew, I’m not saying that Lightheaded is bad in any way. I believe the extended family of Acts:29 takes this group to another level. Othello, Tiffany Simpson and Ethic bring much wanted flavor to the group and the way the tracks escalate lyrically also makes this album a must buy. The only flaw of this album is the lack of final editing and mixing that the album needed, however this album is still a classic and if you like Lightheaded, this is them before they became mainstays in the Christian Hip Hop world (their roots if you will).
Lyrical escalation as the album progresses
The extended family brings a lot to the group (Othello, Tiffany Simpson and Ethic)
Lack of final editing