In this day and age just about everyone has some sort of technology in their hands or somewhere on their person. Everyone in some shape, form, or fashion is “plugged in.” While it seems like technology is bringing people closer it is actually pushing them further apart. Renewed Mind Records artist Sam P. has a different idea of what everyone should be plugged into and proclaims it loudly and boldly on his mixtape ‘Plugin 2 Jesus Vol. 1.’
Sam P. wastes no time jumping into the theme and title track of the mixtape with the song “Plugin.” The song sounds triumphant like you are about to over come various obstacles that life is about to throw at you. Sam is very straight forward and talks about plugging in to the source, which is namely Jesus Christ. The second song “Survive” finds Sam P. along with Bgizzle as they rapped about how the Lord helps them to survive. Bgizzle did a verse and the hook. I wasn’t really feeling Bgizzle on this song. The song “Unified” has a different feel but the beat sounds a little low. Sam P. speeds up the flow a little bit on some parts of the song, which is a very welcome change to his slow and steady pace. The Dj cuts are nice addition to the song but the hook sounds very low, a couple of notches above a whisper. There were some low and high points on this song as far a Sam’s lyricism went. Sam P. went the typical Jesus/Pieces rhyme scheme but on the contrast, “Idle mind is the devil’s workshop/ plug into Jesus and see how miracles won’t stop” was a really good rhyme!!
The fourth song is “I Live it” and Sam rides this beat like he’s surfing a wave. Sam P. Boldly declares that he lives a Christ like life and speaks on the importance of believers living what they talk about. I’m not really feeling the vocal effects on his voice during the hook. In my opinion “Eternal Life” had one of the better beats on the tape. Sam speaks on eternal life being his final destination and I love the bell or xylophone type sounds that ring throughout the song. Track number six is “Take Back My City” and Sam P brings along his friends Trizzy Tre and The One Keon as they spit about taking back their city. The One Keon had the best verse on this track in my opinion. He spit using a variety of flows, from rapid fire to breaking it up using some triplet type cadence. He really stood out on this song.
As we round the final corner on the project, Sam seems to really hit a groove and had a nice run of songs. The first song in this run is probably my favorite “Just Know That He Got It.” I actually enjoyed this beat it has a very nostalgic 8-bit type sound to it. You can almost never go wrong with songs that sound like they could be on a video game, that’s just my thoughts though and the drums sound nice. Sam P and Trizzy just boast and brag on how God always has their back, and lets the listener know that God “got it locked” for them as well. Easily the best song on the entire project. Next we have “Never Quit” and once again we have another beat that I like. The beat has a very nice ominous sound and feel to it. Sam P is solo on this track just speaking about he’ll never quit on the Lord no matter how hard it gets. The hook is very simple and repetitive and to the point, which speaks to the simplicity of just not quitting on God. At the end of the song Sam just talks to the listener and let’s them know that pain is a part of the process and without that pain there can be no gain. this was a very solid song. The next to last song on this mixtape is “Greatness Awaits.” Sam P. speaks how we have to fight for our greatness and how we access that greatness through the Lord. While many claim that greatness is won through hard work alone, Sam tells us that it’s because of Jesus’ sacrifice that Greatness is not only open to us, it’s actually what God wants for us. “Jesus redeemer come to the Father/ let Him lead ya so He can fix your posture” was a good rhyme. “In this unjust world you are the favorite” was a line that really resonated on this song. This was a pretty solid song overall. Sam P. ends the mixtape with “One God.” Sam P. on this track speaks about who God is and the fact there is only one God. Alyssa Wade is on the hook of this song and she sounds good on it. Sam ends the song by Quoting Deuteronomy 4:3. A good way to not only tell us to plug into Jesus but describe exactly what we will be plugging into if we choose to do so.
In conclusion, Sam P. did a good job on what appears to be his first ever mixtape. I reviewed his last project ‘Be Still’ last year and spoke on the good, the bad, and the ugly I saw in that project. I am pleased to say that Sam P. not only listened but he improved on just about everything I had critiques on. That’s not to say that this project is perfect, but rather, it shows improvement. We’ll start with the flaws on this project so that we can end on a good note. Sam had a nice amount of features on this project but not all of them were high quality. Case in point, Bgizzle did not sound good on the hook at all and her rap verse sounded like she was still getting the hang of rapping. Her presence on the song in my opinion, brought down the quality of the entire song. There were some songs where there some special effects on the voices during the hooks and I wasn’t feeling those at all. Sam also fell back to the old reliable Jesus/pieces rhyme scheme that many CHH artists have been using for years (i.e. Lecrae back in 2006). I’d like to suggest not using Jesus as the rhyming word of the bar because then folks tend to lean towards Jesus/pieces/thesis/frees us and I know we can do better than that in our genre. As I mentioned on his previous record ‘Be Still’ I still have an issue with the sounds of his recording. A few of the songs sounded really low on both the beats and the vocals and I think it hurt this project. For instance “Never Quit” as well as a couple of other songs had the capabilities to really knock on your speakers if they were mixed better, I believe. Sam may want to outsource the mixing and mastering of his future projects so they will sound better. I don’t know what producers he is working with but he may to change up as most of the production sounded dated. I’d love to either hear an updated or more current sound from Sam P. in the future. On the plus side he did change up his flow pattern and cadences, and he definitely progressed in the lyricism department as mentioned earlier in this review. Sam P. took a lot of creative risks and steps, and while they may not have all panned out, a mixtape is the perfect place to step outside of the box and try new things. Sam has consistenly dropped a project every year from 2015 to 2017 and he continues to make improvements. He is the first person to submit two projects in a row for review to Trackstarz, even though many said they would, I appreciate that Sam actually followed through. If you want consistent Christ centered, head nodding, good music, then Sam P.’s ‘Plugin 2 Jesus Vol. 1’ may just be the project you need. Purchase or stream it wherever you consume music digitally. For more of Sam P. check out his website therenewedsamp.com.