By Tony "Romeo" Rhone and Andre' Lanier

       When you combine the producing excellence of Walt Whitman Jr. with Aaron Lindsey you get a unique sound often imitated, but never duplicated, by one of the most profound choirs in gospel music history. In my opinion, this is the absolute best project Walt Whitman and The Soul Children of Chicago have ever recorded. Walt Whitman and Aaron Lindsey were able to accomplish what many producers have attempted, but failed. Whitman was able to artistically combine traditional gospel, urban contemporary, hip-hop, gospel rap and Christian Contemporary gospel music on the same project. This is incredible.

       The project kicks off slammin' with a hip hop, urban contemporary groove on the opening cut, "Lift Him Up," written by Bill Dickens, who is known on the urban scene by writing for Aretha Franklin. Track #2, "Celebrate" sets the tone for a serious praise party to jump off. One of my favorites is track #3, "My Father Knows," led by the awesome vocal talents of LeCresia Campbell. This track alone was worth the money spent for the CD, but there is more. The sensational duet of Deitrick and Damita Haddon appears on track #4, "Stop the Tears." This is one of those motion picture soundtrack songs. It reminds you of the Lion King, when Simba was on top of pride Rock with the wind blowing through his mane, overlooking his kingdom in all his splendor. Deitrick and Damita lay you out as they intertwine their voices as only experienced artists can do. Churches across America are singing track #7, "Lord I Lift Your Name On High." This has become the national anthem for praise and worship leaders. CCM music lovers delight themselves with track #9, "Power." This song is Christian rock done by a group of black kids. Imagine that! My absolute favorite song on this project is "Secret Place," track #11. Led by Cinque Cullar, this song ushers you into the presence of God and immediately calms any situation you may be experiencing or going through. This guy has definite "solo artist" potential (hint). The project concludes as Walter brings it back home of the traditional gospel message with "We Are One," led by Bridgette Campbell-Roberts (sister of one-time secular artist, Jessie Campbell, daughter of the prominent pastor Willie James Campbell). Bridgette tours as a background vocalist with Marvin Sapp and Fred Hammond. This girl is straight out of the COGIC with a heavy anointing. Need I say more?

       Did you know that David Holister, Kimberly McFarland, and LeCresia Campbell were all members of the Soul Children of Chicago? Often called the "Pied Piper" because of his unique abilities to teach gospel music vocal techniques to inner city youth of all nationalities, Whitman continues his mission to educate, elevate, and illuminate through this recent project. Overall, with this production Walter Whitman has surpassed his blockbuster-hit song "Shabach." Generation X Celebration is a project that has a little sumn', sumn' for everybody. It's what I call a "gotta' git it." Spiritual Warfare (Southern Gospeltality Records, 1999)

       Endeavoring to empower independents to spread the Gospel throughout the earth without compromise Southern Gospeltality Records, based in Houston, Texas, has put together a tight compilation of gospel rap artists. This project portrays true street soldiers who have come together for the cause of bringin' souls to Christ. With titles like "Declaration of War, War N tha Heavenlies," "Hell & Back," "Warning B4 Destruction," "P.O.W.," and "Warfare," Spiritual Warfare is straight 8 from da underground on a mission to tear Satan's kingdom down.

       Produced by Stikk of Newsoul productions, and priest of Black Water Music, the project hits with tight lyrical content and phat hip-hop beats that any novice to this genre can understand.

       Tracks to check out are #2, "War N tha Heavenlies," featuring Da Click. The song talks about raging war against the dark side, but the Lord has got your back. "We're makin' war in the heavenlies trampin' down on demonic principalities. We're makin' war in the heavenlies by the blood we've overcome all of our enemies." That's tight! Track #3 "2 Hell & Back," brings a female rap artist to the mic, Tragedy. Tragedy flows a bit like MC Lyte, with a very defined, in yo' face type of flow. This song speaks of corruption and demonic deception that creates vile affections which result in homosexuality. "I feel your pain but the devil got you under attack, but through the blood of Jesus Christ you can make it back." Yeah. The track speaks of the problem but also gives a solution. "We visit the dark but there's a light if you're ready to see it. Receive it; it's up to you if you want to be free. If so, God will hear your heart and tell them demons to flee." This track is pure Word and is set on a course to expose the enemy at the root in a perverse generation.

       Son of Jesse steps to the mic with "What I See." SOJ's lyrical components tell a story and provide a visual picture of a young lady on drugs, her life in the streets, and the spiritual warfare she combats while in the ghetto. He talks about the "stuff" traditional churchgoer's drive by every Sunday morning and only talk about while sitting comfortably in their pews. "You don't see what I see when I'm rolling through the ghetto." There is pain in the hood, and Son of Jesse puts it in yo' face! Be sure to peep tracks #7, Stikk, #12, Cory tha Child of Christ, and #13 Son of Jesse's "Call To Freedom". You won't be disappointed.

       Overall, Spiritual Warfare is solid Rhythm And Poetry (RAP). The project provides real life issues that we are dealing with. The white picket fence is only a fairy tale. Be very careful with this one. It might identify somebody you know and obligate you to pray for them and help them out. On the real. Call 218-835-8712 if your local retailer does not carry this project.

Reprinted by permission, Gospel Flava Magazine.