The artist has a very down-to-earth, God-glorifying style that is a pleasure to listen to. Add that to his occasionally melodic, occasionally straight rap style, and this album is a refreshment indeed.
Begin ft. John C. Richards Jr – ‘Hello Jesus’ begins (pun intended) with a clip of John C. Richards, Jr. talking about Jesus’ role as Creator and Sustainer of all things, which seems appropriate for a project titled ‘Hello Jesus’. The instrumental is dramatic and energetic, coming to a forte right as Richards declares, “He created all things.” At its loudest, the track can seem a little overpowering in relative volume to the clip, but that would be my only slight complaint about this surprisingly epic intro track.
Hello Jesus – “If Jesus could change me, why wouldn’t he change you? / Open your heart and let Him in, hello Jesus, make a move, let’s move.”
The title track starts off with a minimalistic beat, and GodFrame begins telling the story of how he came to know Jesus through growing up in the church and struggling with sin. “I spent my whole life surrounded by these lies and these rules / that if I did enough good, me and God would be cool / but it ain’t about what you do, it’s all about what He did / Jehovah gave His only kid for the sins of His friends” As he continues masterfully telling his testimony, the beat keeps things interesting and never quite stays the same for long.
La Vida Libre ft. Meghan Rice – Track 3 switches the vibe to what is immediately recognizable as a turn-up song. The style reminds me a lot of some of Skrip’s stuff, especially from ‘Renegades Never Die’. The song has a great balance of not being all about the hook, nor all about the verses, but having quality on both ends. I think a few things, such as the synth lead during the hook, could be a little better, but that’s not to say they’re bad. This song feels like an EDM song and had me dancing along within the first few seconds.
I’m Alive – GodFrame introduces “I’m Alive” as a trap song, but he approaches the style in a very unique way. Mixed in with high hats, autotune, and 808s are trumpets, organ samples, and quality lyricism. The content is solid (something I’m beginning to see as a pattern in this album) as the artist emphasizes that it’s only God’s saving grace that has made him alive. “I don’t deserve His love ‘cause I ain’t good enough / even if I lived a perfect life, I’m still a scrub”
Forever Always ft. Chadae – GodFrame seems to have a talent for hitting multiple styles while still sounding like the same artist. “Forever Always” brings a more pop-infused sound to the table with a positive and encouraging message. GodFrame keeps us listening to the message by switching up the cadence and melody of his flows repeatedly throughout. I almost think I would rather hear him sing the chorus himself, but then again, the interplay between him and the featured Chadaé works really well.
Be Anything ft. A. Cheatham – Continuing with the uplifting messages, GodFrame tells the story of a girl facing many troubles in her life, emphasizing that, as the hook says, “You’re capable of anything, just trust Him and believe” The chorus is very strong with a melody that drives the song. This type of song has been done many times before in Christian rap (and even Christian music broadly) and could easily fade into the crowd in that regard. That doesn’t necessarily make it a bad song though, although it did feel just a tad cliché to me.
King of Hearts – The first two verses tell of a girl who got played by her homecoming date and the pain that the action brought her. But GodFrame flips things around with the third verse, revealing that he used to be like the boy in the story before he was saved, and the chorus shifts focus from the “king of hearts” mentioned in the beginning to the King of Hearts that brought about his salvation. My only complaint is that the instrumental feels very uninteresting, but even that helps to emphasize the lyrical content of the song.
Aquafina – “Aquafina” is one of those songs that’s just the right vibe to play while you’re driving around town with friends. GodFrame takes a concept (moderation) that could easily come off as very cheesy and makes it catchy and refreshing. The hook, “Aquafina when I’m thirsty” could be considered a little corny, but within the context of the song, I think it works pretty well. The song ends with a synth outro that I think would’ve been fine to leave out, but also fits the overall feel of the album very well.
Wait On Jesus ft. Jarrett Perry – This track gets off to a slow start with subdued vocal samples and laid-back flows that don’t really work for me. Things start to pick up about a minute into the song as more instruments come in. The meditative chorus is accompanied by an organ, which I like a lot. On this track we see the artist get introspective and personal, which is always a good thing. “There I go yet again, trying to learn how to be a man – better father, husband – so many things I don’t understand.” “Wait On Jesus” shapes up to be a good, but ultimately forgettable song.
Padré – The instrumental of the previous song bleeds directly into this one as GodFrame continues to let us into his life. The track is a long and emotional interlude comprised of a set of voicemails between him and his dad.
Home ft. L. DeJuan, Amaris – Things begin to pick up again as the previous few mellow tracks give way to this groovy vibe. “If you feelin’ homeless, or you feelin’ homesick, call on Jesus phoneless, His presence is where home is” The only aspect of the song I have a hard time embracing is its length.
Castle Makers ft. Julianna Pickens – As soon as the intro starts, we know this is going to be a different type of song. Something big is happening. Then, the guitars and drums hit, and it all becomes clear- if you were looking for a hype song on ‘Hello Jesus’, this is it. “Who else could be a god? Nobody but God” True to form, GodFrame weighs the troubles of this world against the hope we have in Jesus.
“He’s still sovereign in spite of the ever-popular / belief that He don’t exist and He’s forgotten us / He’s got a plan in His hands that we don’t understand”
This Love – “We need this love”
The album ends on a mellow, very soulful note with “This Love”. GodFrame begins by talking about body positivity and how he can relate to hating one’s own body. “But guess what? God loves you just the way you are” He then moves on to call Christians to renew their commitment to “be love to the unloved” He concludes the third verse by talking about Christ and how we should emulate Him.
“If God cares for us then we should learn to love each other”
All-in-all, this is my favorite of the more chill songs on ‘Hello Jesus’, and I think it’s a great track to end the project on.
Overall, I found this to be an incredibly solid album, and I’m glad to have had the chance to review it. I honestly found it difficult to find things to critique. ‘Hello Jesus’ is a very well-put-together project and I know I’ll be listening to it again in the future.
My favorite tracks:
1. Hello Jesus
2. Castle Makers
3. La Vida Libre