Hasan Salaam Children of God

Hasan Salaam Children of God
For his third album, New Jersey rapper Hasan Salaam continues to speak his mind in a deep voice that, trained like an instrument, commands attention. It also doesn't hurt that his message is delivered as one engaging story after another. Whether sermonizing on the glory of God over an airy, soulful jazz beat for "Deliver My Soul," expressing his love for hip-hop on b-boy jams "The Uprock" and "The Downrock," discussing oppression and revolution on the smooth, jazzy g-funk of "History of Violence" or relating the struggles of poverty on the mellow, melancholy "Children of God," composed of drums, piano and tambourine, Hasan Salaam owes a big debt of gratitude to the producers for providing a musical backdrop that varies from emo ballad to dance floor burner, all while maintaining the mood of the subject matter. While Children of God has many highlights - "Angel Dust" and "Blessed" among them - it has only one truly low point. Salaam is correct when he opens "Suga" with "Ain't nuthin' wrong with a love song" but that doesn't excuse the generic execution. Still, can't fault the guy for attempting a well-rounded album, especially when most of it is handled superbly. Plus, it features guest appearances from Lord Jamar, Masta Ace and Salaam's 5th Column crew. (5th Column)