Hello everyone! Welcome to the fifteenth installment of FiveTwenty Collective’s very own DIVE Series*. Thank you for tuning in! Whether you are a newcomer to the show or stopping by again, thank you for tuning in!

As mentioned earlier this month, today I will be covering Childlike CiCi’s first and latest EP, 4 Friday. On the 5th of this month, I covered the third song on the project, but now I will be diving into the entire EP. Now, let’s DIVE right into the EP…

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ‭‭- John 3:16

About the EP

In today’s DIVE, I will dive into Childlike CiCi‘s latest EP, 4 Friday. Like the Verse For Free track, which I covered on the 5th of this month, the EP was released on January 13th, 2023. The tracks on the EP have a combined stream count of over 64,0o0 on Spotify. The first three songs have a modern trap feel with exhilarating melodies, while the fourth and last song has a bit more of an old-school sound to the track.

Interpretation of the EP (Part 1) – “Touch Generations Switch That’s Not What I Heard”

This particular track can be argued as essentially being two tracks in one. This is primarily because there is a “switch” in the middle with two different beats (and cadences for each beat) on the track.

In the track’s first half, Touch Generations, Childlike CiCi talks about her purpose as a Christian.

She references 1 Corinthians 9:23-24, where Paul says the following:

“I do it all for the sake of the Gospel that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

She references this passage to make the point that people shouldn’t compare themselves to others in their life race. They should instead run their race to share the Gospel (story of Jesus) with people.

She mentions her “Child of God” status is vital to her life. She raps how she aims to touch generations by making a positive difference. The way to do that as a genuine follower of Jesus is by sharing the love and grace of Jesus with people. Of course, this means sharing the story of Jesus in the Gospel with people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus. That leads us well into the next half of the track…

The “switch” occurs, then the second beat starts for the “That’s Not What I Heard” part of the track.

CiCi raps about people talking down on her for rapping for Christ in this half of the song. Despite what some people say about her career, she mentions how God directed her and gave her passion for Christian rap. She clarifies that one of the primary reasons she raps for Christ is to make disciples. This no doubt opens many doors to people’s interest in her music, which can lead to her sharing Christ’s story with people who do not believe in Jesus.

Interpretation of the EP (Part 2) – “Coming Back Around”

CiCi starts off the song by rapping about how God is her provider and tells her to be patient.

She raps about how Christians already have victory through Jesus and his death and resurrection. This particular reference to Jesus dying on the cross for our sins goes hand and hand with the name of the EP, 4 Friday since Jesus was crucified on the cross on a Friday.

She then proceeds to reference Psalm 23:4, which states:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

She mentions how she’s trying to promote confidence (boldness) in the Body of Christ, which Paul talks about many times in the Bible. See Acts 28:31 for a prime example of this:

“Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. NIV He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ–with all boldness and without hindrance!”

She also speaks about her relationship with Jesus and clarifies that God hears her prayers. She clarifies that she praises the Father, and blessings come back down, which is the essence of this track.

Interpretation of the EP (Part 3) – “Verse for Free”

Here she mentions many key Biblical concepts, including the boldness and confidence of being a genuine follower of Jesus. Children of God have a sense of spiritual security knowing they have an inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Christians mature in their walk with the Lord, stay rooted in God’s Word, and pray with God. These Biblical concepts are essential in a Christian’s walk with the Lord.

Another important aspect of this track is the Holy Spirit’s significant influence on the lives of Christians, guiding them through their life walk. (Christians gain the Holy Spirit upon believing in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior).

Childlike CiCi finally references Deuteronomy 3:22, which essentially emphasizes that there is no need to fear or fight the spiritual enemy (demons) by yourself since God is always there for you. It is worth mentioning that death, sin, and Satan have already been defeated on the cross by Jesus. So there is no need to fear demons (including Satan), but a healthy fear of the Lord is essential in a Christian’s walk with God.

The track’s primary theme is about how simple the message of John 3:16 is: All you need to do to gain an inheritance in God’s Kingdom is to follow Jesus and believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for our sins.

Interpretation of the EP (Part 4) – “Thankful”

This track is by far the shortest track on the EP, which is all about thanking Christ for dying on the cross for our sins. CiCi speaks directly speaks to God in the song, showing her gratefulness that He sent His only Son to die on the cross for us.

A line that stood out to me was when she says, “I am not talkin’ real estate when I talk temple.” Here, Biblically speaking, she is referring to her body being the temple for her spirit as seen in 1 Corinthians 1:16-17:

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

I appreciate the song’s old-school vibe and the track’s essence of thanking God for saving those who believe in Jesus.

DIVE Conclusion

Today, we spoke about Childlike CiCi’s first EP, 4 Friday, which has amazingly accumulated over 64,000 total streams on Spotify.

This EP is a collection of songs that go unsurprisingly well together. It is clear that the primary messages of this EP directly originate from core Biblical principles. These principles include being bold in our faith in Christ, thanking God for what He did for us on the cross, knowing our purpose to make disciples of Christ through the sharing of the Gospel (story of Christ), and knowing that Jesus’ death and resurrection have already defeated Satan.

Thank You for Reading DIVE!

I appreciate you for reading this far into the article! This was my first-ever EP article installment, so I hope you all enjoyed this installment of The DIVE Series* on FiveTwenty Collective. Stay tuned for the next installment dropping on the 5th of next month!

About The DIVE Series*

In this series, I DIVE into the precise and potential meanings of Christian Hip Hop singles, albums, and EPs.

In Special Edition installments of the series, I interview the artist(s) involved for the whole meaning of their art.

Thanks for checking out today’s edition of FiveTwenty Collective’s DIVE series! I drop a new installment of this series on the 5th and 20th of every month (except on Sundays).

God Bless,

DJ Expander

**Listen to the full 4 Friday EP at the end of the article!**

Want more content from The DIVE Series? Check out the previous article now!

On Season Three |  Ep. 11 of the FiveTwenty Collective Podcast:

  • Featured song “All That” by Reece Lache’
  • Industry Insider Interview with Magi Camaj and Margaret Lee of the Camaj & Lee Law Firm
  • Convo: Spotify “Marquee” Promotion
  • Music by DJ Barrcode/Barrcode Beats

Podcast Sponsors: Untdld, Nectar Distro, Show Me Christ Records, The Bookkeeper247, AKA Fisher

“The Sauce” playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/63ZSO1AbegtknjTgY8G2to?si=7f574a09c5b0457c

“All That” on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/4eOCGooaEArUmAyVLk7Ixm?si=c8dabd72c29e40d6

“50 Keys To Success In the Music Business” by Magi Camaj and Margaret Lee: https://www.amazon.com/Keys-Success-Music-Business-Entertainment/dp/B0962N9RL2/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Margarit%C3%AB+Camaj&qid=1636908375&sr=8-3

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Many would argue that the current wave of CHH artists has lost their intentionality in pushing a Gospel-centered message. Perhaps in over-the-top attempts to be relevant, cool, and ingratiating to one’s audience.

Hugh Holla is not one you’ll find falling into that category.

His latest release, Glory Up, is further evidence of that.

Making his official splash onto the Christian hip hop scene with his 2020 Holla-Luja project, which garnered him well-deserved attention and recognition, Hugh continues to solidify himself as a consistent force in the genre.

The seven-song EP has a mixtape feel to it. That may have been the idea all along.

Holla is far from gimmicky. His flow is ice cold and his delivery deliberate, as if his faith has him unbothered on all fronts. His lyrics can’t help but convey that peace and staunch standing.

Tracks like Testaments, one of the project’s stronger records, make Hugh’s message and mission statement clear with bars like “I could ramble through some bars and tickle your thoughts/I’d rather help you water your heart and harvest the crops.”

Other stand-out records like Rooted and Untouchable offer more of the same gritty address and witty approach, that while are absent of any fluff, don’t waste any of the well-placed punchlines littered throughout.

Glory Up is refreshing for those who are looking for a pure Gospel message with a truly urban feel and relatable message. That doesn’t mean the project is without its flaws.

While the production is consistent and serviceable, it’s not spectacular. That goes back to the mixtape feel point made earlier.

The hooks and choruses are somewhat predictable, a bit time-stamped, but not detracting from the message of each song and the project as a whole. There is growth in this project and no apparent throwaway songwriting present.

Glory Up is a jewel, flaws and all.

Hugh Holla is so confident in his belief that the pointedness of this offering overcomes any technical or style issues that could be addressed. As stated, this is not a modern, current attempt to bring a relevant sound to the masses. This is an execution in delivering an authentic Christian message with a beat backdrop that doesn’t allow you to miss the intent of its content. Mission accomplished!

Let us know in the comments how you feel about Glory Up by Hugh Holla. Do you agree with this assessment? Which songs are standouts and which are lacking? #SoundOff