Review Rating: Must Listen (4.0/5)
Three years removed from his independent debut album, Monsters Ink, rising star Steven Malcolm has officially released his first album since signing with Word Entertainment back in October of 2016, suitably entitled, Steven Malcolm. If you know anything about Steven Malcolm, it’s that you can always count on him to deliver the gospel of Jesus on a wave of bass, unforgettable rhymes and authenticity. Malcolm repeatedly captives the listener with a transparent story full of the ups and downs, turns and curves of life that can only be described as an origami type relationship between beats and lyrics. Malcolm gives a familiar performance with this album that will undoubtedly be welcomed by CCM and mainstream listeners alike. Malcolm uses touches of trap music with a noticeable reggae presence to help drive the album along with a host of great features, most notably Andy Mineo, Papa San (who better for a reggae presence) and Hollyn.
Steven begins with the intensely catchy track "Hot Boy," which doubled as the album's first single. Only after listening several times can I say that this track is best described as a braggadocious biography overflowing with Malcolm’s enthusiasm for playing trap music with a cold piano-based beat. Sticking with much of the same theme "Leh Get It" doubles down as a catchy banger reminiscent of popular mainstream hip-hop and is a song I will certainly have on repeat.
With an uplifting acoustic guitar intro worthy of being a Jamie Grace production and light-hearted lyrics about “a party in the hills for fun”, "Party In The Hills", featuring Andy Mineo and Hollyn, quickly staked its claim as the premier feel-good track of the album. A bright spot of the album was Malcolm’s 10th track, "The Struggle," which highlights the battle between good and evil and offers a transparent and genuine look into how he deals with “carrying what feels like the world.”
Malcolm’s self-titled album ends with "Never Let You Go," featuring the uber-talented singer/songwriter Blanca. "Never Let You Go" is a legit praise song giving thanks to the ever-loving character of God and is a solid way to end an outstanding collection.
At the end of the day, Steven Malcolm provides a high-quality album that is sure to earn praise from critics and fans alike. As he soars to new heights with the release of this latest collection, I pray that he continues to create music that is inspiring, creative and, most importantly, centered around the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
[Photo Credit: Caleb Cook]