Tunnel Rats Tunnelvision

I remember back in the day when Christian rap was just another medium for preaching the "word" with little regard for talent. There was D-Boy, DC Talk (don't get me started on them), and if you were lucky, P.I.D. who actually sounded like they had listened to the music for more than a couple of weeks. To many, Christianity and rap just doesn't blend. But, recently things have changed with the likes of Pidgeon Jon and the L.A. Symphony, and much of the Uprok Records roster, such as MG! the Visionary and Sup the Chemist. Add to this Uprok list the Tunnel Rats family, a crew of artists dedicated to hip-hop who happen to be Christian. Composed of the duos New Breed and LPG, and solo artists Raphi, Sev Statik, Zane and producer Dert, this compilation showcase is not always successful, but there are some songs that prove that rap and Christianity are no longer mutually exclusive, with banging beats and dope lyricism combined to compete with anything else that's out there. The best tracks are the posse cut "T.R.'z," Sev Statik's song named after himself, and the battle-oriented "Pray for Morning," by Raphi and Macho (of New Breed). Also of interest is the Timbaland-influenced "Motivate," the mariachi sounds of "Human Race" and the testimonial track "Remember." Much of the rest is give or take at best, but Tunnelvision proves that it's not such a ridiculous thought that perhaps one day this sub-genre of hip-hop may replace gangsta rap in the mainstream. Or maybe not, but at least it can still be damn good. (Uprok)