I realized the other day that I talk about Christian rap music all the time without giving any real, solid information on it. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting some different album reviews of what my favorite albums are of all-time. Today, we start with the fantastic album Destined for Greatness by Ty Brasel.
Ty Brasel was never really on my radar. I’ve been heavily listening to Christian rap music since about 2014, and I never was much a listener of his music. A lot of this was due to my lack of exposure to Ty’s music. In the spring of 2018, he released a new album called Destined for Greatness. Everyone on Twitter was gassing it up, so I decided to give it a listen, not expecting much (no offense to Ty Brasel). As is turns out, the album was absolutely phenomenal. And it wasn’t even the whole thing! The album was set to be released in two parts: Side A and Side B. Side A came out in the spring of 2018 and Side B came out toward the end of the year. I’ll get into the album, and then I’ll give you my overall thoughts. But just to give you a little sneak peek: I think this album is one of the best Christian rap albums of all-time.
There are 18 tracks on this album. The first seven songs make up Side A and the last 10 songs make up Side B (yes, I know that equals 17 songs. There is a bonus track, completing the 18). Ty Brasel has a very unique sound. He employs this very melodic rap technique. His delivery is somewhere almost halfway between singing and rapping. He, in essence, raps with a little bit of pitch in his voice. He’s very smooth and has a potent voice that goes well with his wavy instrumentals. I think this album has several strengths. Let’s get into those.
The album is very well-organized. Artists who are worth their salt organize albums in a special way. The way this album was put together is very good. This album breaks up the more sing-songy tracks with the harder, meatier songs. The album artwork is also really well-done. The album cover is clean and minimalistic, but it gets the message across. Another huge strength of this album is the track titling. Each song has a title, in my opinion, that made me want to at least sample the song. The album is catchy, every song is unique, and Ty’s lyricism is some of the best I’ve ever heard. He is a very deep writer and often uses some clever alliteration in his music. Ty Brasel is a believer, and he makes no concessions to the contrary. The spiritual content is all-in. He is also super honest about his past struggles with drugs and girls (which you can read more about in a bio on Ty here). As far as specifics go, I want to touch on two tracks in particular.
The first song I want to highlight is the song “444+333 (God is Perfect).” There is something cool to note about the song. Ty says the word “four” (or for, or fore… you get the point) 44 times in the song. And the song has 333 words in it, hence the title. That, in and of itself, takes some real thought and planning. The song is also just simply very good. Ty’s emphasis on the majesty of God versus the iniquity of his own sin is a powerful message. This is one of my favorites.
The second song I want to highlight, which I’ve talked about before on a podcast and blog, is the song “Destined for Greatness.” A cool fact about this song, which a friend of mine pointed out, is that Ty Brasel actually counts down from 24 (his age at the time of the album creation) to 1 by the end of the song. It’s pretty impressive stuff. But this song… this song just hits different. It’s more of a celebration of Christ and what He’s done in Ty’s life. It’s cool because the song starts with Ty, gets to Jesus, and ends with “you,” the listener. It makes Ty’s story become your own by the end of the song.
Now, let me give you my own personal takeaways from this album. There is not a bad song on this album. I legitimately like every single track. And there is something for everyone on this album. There are some harder songs, like “The Game” or “Meant for Me.” There are some slower songs, like “Withdrawals” or “In the Beginning.” There is lots of melody and lots of Jesus. Ty really delivered with this album, and you can hear his heart for the Lord in these tracks. This album is crisp. There are no unnecessary tracks. There are no bad lines. There are no bad instrumentals. There is no repetition. This is, by far, one of the best albums I’ve ever heard in my life. He moved up to an elite artist with this album, at least to me. This is one of those golden albums that really bring faith to the forefront without sacrificing sound and quality. A huge criticism I hear often of Christian rap music is that it’s “corny.” This album is far from that.
I was never much of a Ty Brasel fan— to Ty, I sincerely apologize because I have been missing out. Since this album came out, I have gotten on the wave and downloaded everything the guy has made. I’m a huge fan now, and I can’t wait for new music. I encourage you to check this album out. It’s absolutely phenomenal. And if you don’t listen to Christian rap music… what are you doing?