It is not often that I get surprised by a music submission
I think that comes from it simply being a numbers game. When you have a multitude of songs to go through, you will hear a lot of good, but the truly special is simply not as common.
My ears certainly perked up when I hit play on the song “Back Row Flow” submitted by Anthony Sawyers.
So much so that I felt inclined to check out the rest of the project…which in turn led to this review that you are now reading. Like I said, you don’t always expect it so when you come across something you feel is special (especially in this genre), do your best to support it.
Sawyers is from Ontario, Canada, and he began his journey with hip hop at the age of eight. He has developed a style that blends boom-bap characteristics with today’s vibes. He is another artist from north of the border (along with artists such as Dru Bex, Charlene Nash, Flame, and Phaino) that certainly has what it takes to stand out in Christian Hip Hop.
Want proof? Look no further than his newest EP, ‘Turbulence and Order’.
Back Row Flow – This is one of those opening tracks where, from the first notes, you just know that you’re about to get into something good. Sawyers displays complete control over his cadence and flow patterns, complementing the beat every step of the way. It is easy to see why he caught my attention when he submitted “Back Row Flow” to our site. The young man’s passion and confidence drips over the stabbing keys and 808s. I’m not jealous of Sawyer’s job of following this one up.
Say It Freestyle – “This one’s for my momma, yo” The shortest of the six songs on the EP, “Say It Freestyle” is a fitting follow up to the lead track. With a similar sonic backing, the vibe carries on from the project’s opener. I like the early verb effect on Sawyers’ vocal, it provides a nice contrast when verse clears up and his bars stand front and center. The song may have an interlude feel, however, it is anything but filler.
Grade Eight – The mood on “Grade Eight” is more sullen as Sawyers dives into a difficult past that featured bullying and self-doubt. Going through the difficult situations, he came out of the other side with an understanding of how much Christ loved him. “So I walk through this life, yeah I know the pace/ with insecurity on my back, I know the weight/ like am I good enough, in my sober state/ to deserve love from above and a home to stay”
Memory Lane – The chiller vibes continue on “Memory Lane”. I love how piano has driven this project, it compliments Sawyers well. The vocals on the chorus are smooth as they add to the feel of the track. Overall, “Memory Lane” is a good track, just not my favorite from the project.
Never Knew It ft. Phil Darko – The lead single, accompanied by a video that can be found here, brings the energy back up as once again we are doing this for momma and granny. Sawyers explores his conversion and how he wasn’t expecting to walk with God. “Never knew it, that I would pick up God’s word, inside of my room it’s crazy I never do this/ I never knew it, the same thing they told me was bondage be the thing that kept me moving” Phil Darko, fellow MiddleChild Records artist, is the only feature on the project and he delivers on the opportunity. Even amongst a collection of great choices, “Never Knew It” certainly checks the boxes of what you are looking for in a single.
This Is Me – The nod to a throwback sound on “This Is Me” brings a fitting ending to ‘Turbulence and Order’. Sawyers tells the story of how he got into rapping, shout out to Luda for the inspiration, and how he learned that the hip hop life comes in second to his purpose as a child of the King. Lucky for us (CHH), Jesus has a plan for Sawyers to use music to His glory.
Overall, ‘Turbulence and Order’ has easily made it onto my list of top projects in 2020.
It is hard to find anything really negative about the EP. Sure, there is an opportunity to polish the sound more, but that is simply something that throwing more money at fixes (and we know how many people in this space have those kinds of pockets).
Anthony Sawyers officially has my attention and I’ll be keeping a close eye on what he has next in-store.
Take a listen to ‘Turbulence and Order’ below then hit the comments to let me know what you think!
Do you agree with my take? What are your stand out tracks?