These are perilous times we are living in. America is as divided as it’s ever been and that division has been made even more apparent in the church. A lot of Christian Hip Hop artists have been making music to speak on what’s in their hearts in regard to the gospel and race and racial reconciliation. Many claim that artists are focused too much on skin color and not enough on the Gospel and vice versa. Enter: Mitch Darrell with his project ‘Black Skin Colorless Soul’ (BSCS). Mitch throws his hat in the ring with a unique perspective about race and the Gospel. Buckle up and prepare to go beneath the surface of issues with ‘Black Skin Colorless Soul.’
The first track, “Intro” is a cappella rap piece that gets into the heart of what the album is about. Our true home is in Heaven with our colorless soul. Mitch presumes that our souls will be colorless when this fleshly body deteriorates. The next song is “Woke” featuring Ra Shad Eas. When Mitch says he is “woke” he means he is aware of what’s going on. This song has some EDM elements and is a very airy beat. Mitch and Ra Shad Eas talks about what it really means to be woke, speaking about a broken system but still pushing towards the real prize of Heaven. The third song “Flyin” has a great feel and sound to it. Love the drums and synths on this song as Mitch gets his croon on for this song. “I don’t care what you say… I won’t let what you say keep me from flying” is the premise of the song. Mitch brags on God being crowned King and showing him who he really is. Very Kendrick Lamar like sound as he raps with a sing song type flow and delivery. The lies of satan and the opinions of others, won’t stop Mitch from living for God and eventually making Heaven his home.
We turn the corner on BSCS with “Conscience.” Mr. Darrell speaks on not knowing what to do and needing the Lord’s help to make it through. The hook is done in his other voice (reminds me of Kendrick and or J. Givens). Love the lush sounds and the emptiness of the beat. We also hear a little singing from Mitch on the hook as well. Probably the best sounding song on the project and very clearly illustrates the battle of the conscience between right and wrong. The song “Mission” started off with very haunting sounds in the beginning and we get into some trap elements. Mitch does a lot of singing and speaks of the distractions and needing to listen to your soul before making a big decision. The fact that Jesus is calling him lets Mitch know that he has a mission and he is determined to chase after it. The shortest song on the project “Soul” has an interesting vibe. Mitch dips in and out of his other Kendrick type voice and speaks about life and hoping that people can see his soul on this minute and a half song. Mitch Darrell brings along some friends Ra Shad Eas and B. on the anthem “Top 3” aimed at the doubters and haters.
Heading down the final stretch of BSCS we stumble upon “Back To Homeland.” This song starts off with some children chanting while Mitch does some vocalizing. Very melodic and in Mitch’s words “This beat makes me feel like I’m in Africa.” The first verse is Mitch speaking of how racist rhetoric goes against the Bible’s message of love. Verse 2 speaks that not all are racist and there are some allies and hope is not all lost. Being black in America is very bittersweet and Mr. Darrell paints a beautiful picture of this. “Comparing struggles our problems are relative” is a good line. The final song on the project is “Colorless African.” Love the guitar and the acoustic type feel of this as Mitch talks about his experience as a black man living in the suburbs. He talks about the painful stereotypes that comes with being an intelligent and articulate black man in America, and how it takes some people by surprise. A very fitting end to this album.
In conclusion, this album is a very strong offering from the 20 year old emcee. The talk about race and the Gospel is a nuanced conversation and Mitch treads this thin line like a tight rope. Mitch masterfully balances being a proud Christian and denouncing racism and being a man proud of his African ancestry. What’s even more astonishing is that Mitch Darrell put this entire body of music together on less than $1000. That being said, the mixes could have been a little better and some of the songs had a little too much going on. In my personal opinion, the song “Mission” was a song that was ripe to rap on instead of sing on the whole beat. While I don’t know if this is true, it seems like Kendrick Lamar may be a major influence on how Mitch’s delivery. Some of the songs where he uses a different voice he sounds a lot like Kendrick, even down to the way he pronounces his words. My suggestion for the next project would be for Darrell to not listen to any of his favorite artists while he is working on music. Influences can bleed through without even trying and then he’ll become relegated to a lesser version of a more popular artist. That would be a shame as Mitch Darrell is a very talented artist. He is very creative, innovative and deserves to have his own voice showcased. Mitch shows wisdom beyond his years with ‘Black Skin Colorless Soul’ and you should definitely check it out.
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