2019 is fully underway and we are almost two quarters into it, but that doesn’t mean that 2018 didn’t have any bangers that people slept on. One such project comes from a collective based in Chicago, Illinois. They released their debut self titled project on September of last year and it was received to great acclaim. This group has been on a few radio stations to promote the project and their music is spreading. So pull up a chair and tune in as we explore ‘The God Hour.’
The first song is “The Call” which serves as an introduction of sorts. We hear members of the group singing an ominous chant of, “Can you hear God call?” Accompanied by some somber keys. If you didn’t know any better, you would think that The God Hour enlisted a choir to sing this. The music begins to crescendo and we hear them sing, “Can you” repeatedly as the first refrain ends. Then the music fades down you hear only the voices singing. The intro bleeds right into “God Rules” which has to be my absolute favorite song on this project. We have some more somber music and we hear a woman singing, “God rules everything around me.” This may be the vocal talents of featured artist Jimiece Jasmine. The first rapper we hear is MAC (Man About Change) and he lays down A great verse. It’s not often that you hear the word “irrigate” in a rap verse and he rhymes “photosynthesis” with “photos from these sentences.” The most impressive line from MAC is, “see I figured like Bandai, they ain’t bout that action.” After MAC we go back to the hook and are greeted with blistering raps from Elle Virtuoso. Elle was poetic about God’s sovereignty and one of the lines that stuck out to me was,”Every organism and enzyme who can break down The food for thought.” Elle closed her verse out strong and next we have St. Nik/Aux who closed out the song with a solid verse. This song was an amazing way to start off the project.
The next song is “Soul on Fire” which has more of the somber sound but more of an emphasis on the keys, and without warning, MAC leaps into your eardrums. Lines like, “broken souls while shopping for more/ while God was prepping the warehouse I never saw what was in store” hit hard. This is my first time hearing MAC, I have no doubt he is a veteran on the mic. This man rhymed “Nebuchadnezzar” with “never say never,” something I don’t know that I’ve ever heard. GH lets the beat breathe for a second and St. Nik/Aux goes in for a few bars and “My soul is on fire” is sung. Next, Elle Virtuoso comes in and hits hard with some skillful alliteration. Elle rapped, “this is careful chemistry, collaborative competition.” Next we hear who I believe is 7 Metrix, another member of GH. The third song on this project is “All I Need” and once again MAC starts the song off. He speaks of how he was looking for someone for most of his life and knows that his soul will be barren if he doesn’t find Him. This hook seems to take advantage of the fact there are multiple members of this group and you hear some good harmonizing on this song. St. Nik/ Aux came through with a heartfelt verse and his closing line, “Just promise you’ll come back for me!” This really hit home for me and Elle switched it up by singing and either MAC or 7Metrix sings with her until the end of the song. Next we have “Light” and we hear a shift in sound and this song sounds super upbeat and celebratory. Virtuoso sings a great verse about God’s majesty and his power. The song clocks in at a minute and fifty three seconds but it sounds so bright and vibrant, that I wanted it to be longer.
As we turn a corner, we run into one of the singles from the project titled “Hymn.” This song finds each member pouring out their hearts about their struggles. Whether it’s mental issues, the death of a parent, The God Hour lays it all on this song. The most intense verse on this song is who I believe is 7Metrix, and you’ll definitely want to check this song out. The official final song on this project appears to be “Live.” The song starts with St. Nik/Aux as he seeks to just live. We have Elle Virtuoso on the hook singing no matter what, “I’m gon’ live!!” MAC comes in on this verse faster than his usual tempo that he’s displayed on this whole project. Virtuoso gives him an assist doing his adlibs and it sounds really good. I wasn’t a fan of this pace at first, but after a second listen, I really appreciate the risk he took by stepping outside of his comfort zone. Ell was doing double duty by jumping on a verse and she figure skates on this beat so gracefully. She definitely shined on this track and MAC and her sang, “I’m gon’ live.” MAC imitated an old preacher and that definitely added some flavor to the track. The bonus track “Meeting Notes” may be one of the most creative and honest songs I’ve heard in a while. One of the cool things about being in a group is the fact that are multiple people, but that can also be one of the biggest drawbacks. With so many different minds, opinions, and personalities, members are sure to butt heads. Anyone who has ever sat in on a meeting behind closed doors understands how intense things can get. The God Hour takes us behind their doors and we hear their “Meeting Notes.” From my understanding they really wrote how they felt about each other during the process of making this album. You definitely have to listen to this song and MAC ends it by saying to get ready for album number two. The dismissive sounds from the group and the chatter will have you rolling in laughter. This is definitely a unique way to end such a great project.
In conclusion, ‘The God Hour’ is a debut album crafted by veterans. All of the members of this group are lyricists with sure and steady grips on their pens. The music doesn’t sound like anything else that’s out now and The God Hour is all the better for it. They also were able to get Lauryn Hill’s guitarist to play on some of the songs on this album. I love the dark and somber sound and even when they made more upbeat songs, they didn’t stray too far from their sound. I am looking forward to hearing more from them. However, one of my most common complaints when reviewing group projects is that I don’t know who is who on the songs. I wish that people would say their names before the verse starts or after it ends. I may have heard MAC say his name once, but I had to listen to two of their interviews to decipher who was who. The God Hour may be known in Chicago, but this IN/KY based writer had never heard of them. For every artist or group that happens to read this, every album and song you do is someone’s first time experiencing your art. Please don’t assume people know who you are because most of us don’t. Tat’s my only complaint on this impressive project.While the idea of a second The God God Hour was dismissed at the end of the bonus track, I sincerely hope that they do get around to it. I believe their next move is to release solo albums, but the God Hour had a sound and experience that definitely shouldn’t be ignored. Do yourself a favor and check out The God Hour’s self titled project. I promise you won’t regret it.