"Brand Nu Lyfe"
Single Review from Gospel Music Fever
If you're old enough to remember 1980's TV, then "Brand Nu Lyfe" will definitely sound familiar. One reason (the obvious one) is because the hip-hop track opens with a sample of the theme song from popular sitcom Who's the Boss? The other reason is because C. Lewis is both creative and intentional enough to merge the familiar and the foreign, thereby creating a really relatable song with a broad appeal.
In "Brand Nu Lyfe," which incorporates rap combined with melodic singing on the hooks, Lewis and Greensboro, NC based gospel artist E.Quipped (who are also the track's producers), rap about life's ups and downs and the hope for better days ahead. Lewis says that amid a backslidden state, he remained connected to music, but struggled with the right concept for the theme song idea. Once he returned to Christ, however, he experienced a renewal that caused everything to come together.
"Sometime last winter I was making beats at home, and I came across that theme song again," he says. "It just came to me as clear as day in the last sentence: nights are long but you might awaken to a brand new life around the bend. With all I was and am currently going through, it serves as a very fitting reminder that in Christ, there's always hope for a new start."
In addition to reconnecting with Christ, Lewis also hooked up again with his friend of 10 years, Emil Goergen IV, better known as E.Quipped. The two were once part of a group called Remnant Flame. Now they're back together, ministering through their music and giving others hope for a "Brand Nu Lyfe."
Excerpt of Album Review from
“…hip hop lovers beware, the brother has lyrical skills that shine throughout the project. His semi-singing like flow adds a color of musicality that is sometimes lacking in Gospel hip-hop nowadays. Speaking of Gospel, this CD could be classified as a handbook to all ministers out there looking for encouragement and instruction on how to live, act and minister according to the Word of God.”
“Divine Connections & Co-labor-ations”
Album Review from on 9/16/10
Album rating: 4 out of 5 stars
In the music world they use a phrase to describe the phenomenon that seems to render artists second albums unsuccessful, that phrase is “Sophomore Jinx.” Personally, I believe most artists that experience the “jinx” has had a break down somewhere in the process. The problems usually are that the artist is just being dense and resting on former successes or becoming a puppet and allowing someone to change their image and sound damaging their established identity. Whatever the case either one of those things is definitely not the characteristics of someone who wants to be effective and successful in music. Greensboro Emcee/Minister E.Quipped is back like he never left with a new album entitled “Devine Connections and Co-labor-ations” It seems that E.Quipped has taken what he’s learned and the relationships that he has and maximized them to present a solid cohesive project to bless the masses! (The approximated track listing is due to interludes being omitted from the review.)
1. “Get Equipped”: Sets the tone for the album. E.Quipped comes out rapid fire with synths and bangin’ drums with this intro/ decree to get connected with the father. Complex rhyme schemes full of spiritual meat should make this a song with a lot of repeat value.
2.”Err Body”: sticks to that bang the beat into your chest formula with synths and a rockin’ snare. The music provides the canvas for some intricate rhymes spit by E.Quipped and Wisdom who hold it down for the ladies (She is Gorilla on the track). The whole gist of the song relates the fact that Christ died for all and we have responsibility to minister to all.
3.”Magnified”: Swings with adoration and praise over a signature Tony Stone sound. Equipped and Jeremiah trade verses with a jazzy cadence and does what the song says, they magnify the Lord to the fullest.
4.“Glory”: is sort of a hybrid between classic East coast music based on the chorus and the cadence and a West coast banger with the synth weaving in and out. R-Swift and Omega Sparx make this joint reminiscent of some classic CM. If this song doesn’t get you hyped about giving God glory you may be too far gone!
5."Speak Life”: is a really smooth East coast groove with a profound message. E.Quipped reinforces the power of the tongue and how important it is to speak things that line up with the word of the Lord. Produced by Jay-R for True Rukus Productions
6. “Connect” (Feat. Jaroe): Heralds the importance and necessity for unity between people and emcees. Christian hip hop seems to be plagued with division, and this song cries out to halt that spirit through the power of God. The melodic chorus and bass driven track pulls you in so the potent rhymes can take root and bear fruit in your life.
7. “Step Back”: Some grooves just make you want to get your dance on! Crucial & Beat lab 7 put their foot in this one! Dance grooves plus dope lyrics equal great music. E.Quipped serves up meat stating that Christ should be at the forefront in everything we do so he gets the proper credit and we don’t steal his shine!
8. “You’ve Been So Good” (Feat. D-Maub): Another T. Stone Southern banger; lyrically this 808 laced joint is ridiculous. Sound wise I don’t know if the chorus compliments the song. It kinda has an eighty’s R&B feel to it which would be more in- tune with an interlude. The basis of the song is solid D-Maub and E.Quipped is just spilling on the goodness of God which is always in order.
9. “The Baby Song”: Faith meets melody on this Stephen Life produced track. E.Quipped pours his heart out over a Seventies groove sample. Man this song is real not only because of the content but also because of the transparency! E.Quipped shares something with us the listener that is very personal and dear to him and his wife. It’s great that we can plug into each other’s lives through various channels and this song should provide connections of faith that we can believe with and for E.Quipped and his family.
10. “Press”: This song plays like a manifesto of maturity over an East coast sound-scape. E.Quipped speaks of the uncertainty of popularity and the certainty of knowing whom really should be impressed with our life in the final analysis. He shares that Jesus is the only one that counts when all is said and done.
11. “Upside down” (Feat. Knine): Rocks with guitar riffs and heavy kick drums produced by Jeremiah Bligen. I don’t know if hurricanes are common in N.C., but Knine and E.Quipped wreck this track like some natural disasters. Like the sons of thunder they proclaim the truth of Jesus that is turning things upside down.
12. “Urgencypha”: Definitely revisits some of the gems we used to get from CMR. There is nothing like an in your face, knockdown, drag out Jesus Cypher Feat Ricon, Discipe, Chosen, Natman, E.Quipped and Sean Hunter. They tear it down reppin’ God’s kingdom period.
13. “3rd Coast Fire”: I know E.Quipped is probably glad that he has a good relationship with DJ D-Lite but I don’t know if I would put a commercial for him on my album! lol Some things should just be left apart from your project. On the upside Equipped is still spittin’ on this joint.
14. “Spokes People” (Feat K-Drama & Eric Cross): Stephen Life sparked this banger with blaring horns and East Coast flavor. E.Quipped, K-Drama, and Eric Cross convincingly state the case that there is clearly a benefit to being a representative or Spokes Person for Christ.
15. “Wherever You Are”: You can hear the passion spilling from this heartfelt appeal to the lost. E.Quipped shares that wherever you are in the spectrum of life you are not too low or too far gone that God can’t save and deliver you.
16. “Radiancypha”: Equipped comes back with a worship tinged cypher Feat Ream, Borne, L3gacy, and C. Lewis Produced by Muze One. The fellas brag about radiant change Christ makes in our life.
17. “Crazy Praise” (Remix): is reminiscent of House-music styled club songs popular in the late eighties in the Midwest. The subject of praise never gets old so that makes this song palatable. I’m sure the meter on this joint will teeter because it is the type of song that will bang or bust according to personal preference.
18. “Re-Connect”: Revisits the song Connect from track six. Truth be told M.E.L merked his verse on the track but he very well could have been added to track six. Who says that a song has to have three sixteen-bar verses?
All in all, E.Quipped shows tremendous maturity and growth as an artist on this album. Some great songs combined with some stellar collabos make this album a must have. The only miscue I thought was present on the album was that it was too long! Quality will always trump quantity when it is done right. One lesson artists have to learn is knowing when to leave some things on the cutting floor. In this case the vast track listing (24 tracks) makes it seem like the album started over and you didn’t press reset. I still feel that it is a great album and if you like good music you will too! Paul COLLINS