116 – The Gift: A Christmas Compilation
Gospel hip-hop artist, Lecrae, and his label Reach Records have put together a compilation Christmas album. His team, known as 116 Clique, released The Gift: A Christmas Compilation on November 23rd. This is the first time the team has collaborated on an album in seven years, dating back to the “Man Up” album and it is also the first Christmas album that they’ve put together. But this is not your typical Silent Night holiday album. It’s actually a lot more of an experimenting album than that and includes many artists that are not apart of the clique as well. They take songs like “This Christmas” and “O’Come” and take them completely out of their element. It shows the range and diversity that the clique has as artists.
The production behind this album was interesting, to say the least, as it included some ranging beats and things not exactly expected when you think of a Christmas album. Each song has its own sound tailored to each artist and what that artist typically does or likes. Each song flows into the next and sets the tone for whatever song is coming next. They step outside of the box of the same old same old and sometimes it worked better than others throughout the album.
The beats are very up-tempo and encourage people to smile while they listen to it. They put hip-hop beats over the famous songs and changed the verses but kept the hooks the same for the most part. You start off listening and knowing what song they’re sampling from the hook, but then your kind of thrown off by the beats and the verses.
The many different artists included in the album is large and allowed the album to get as much range as it had. The problem is that all the artists didn’t mix well with each other from a sound perspective. An example of that is “Joy” featuring Abe Parker, Trip Lee and Lecrae. Abe Parker didn’t seem to mesh well on the hook and that came down to how he sang it, they should’ve found a better way to mesh the hook and the verses a little better rather than be through a better bridge or different artists on the song.
There was a little bit of that throughout the album, but it also had its good moments as well. Mixing artists like WHATUPRG and Svrcina worked out perfectly as both artists complimented each other beautifully. Their voices and roles in the song we’re perfect and was done very well in a production standpoint.
This was not a completely terrible Christmas album and is still something you can put into your car and listen to during the holidays. There may be songs that will be skipped, but there are also very intriguing songs. Because of the varied genres on the album, there will also be varied fan favorites, which is something that 116 Clique must get credit for.
There is a lot for 116 Clique to build upon from this album if they decide to make another Christmas album. A lot of fans of 116 Clique will feel so-so about the album and don’t know what exactly to expect when the group decides to link back up again at some point in the future.
Jibril Washington is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in theatre arts. To contact him, email at firstname.lastname@example.org.