Review Rating: Must Listen! [4.7 / 5]
It's onwards and upwards for rapper Steven Malcolm as the next release of his EP project The Second City drops. Building on the success of Part I, the follow-up collection takes listeners through Steven's story with bold and fiery lyrics, gripping sounds, and relatable themes. Full of engaging moments and fantastically delivered verses, Steven Malcolm's The Second City: Part II is definitely worth the listening.
The opening track continues the themes of the EP collection with the title track. Piano notes and constrained strings meet energetic, reggae-inspired beats to set the foundation for Steven's vocals. The result is a bright, anticipating, hopeful sound that sets the tone for the lyrics. The song describes a city filled with God's presence, where redemption and freedom are the norms. These themes are contrasted with the city of the now, creating a dichotomy between Steven's struggles and Steven's hope in eternity.
"Been There" is Steven's story, taking him from hopeless living to God's presence. Low, rumbling, bass-filled notes slide beneath the main beat, with Steven's vocals adapting to smoothly accompany the sounds. Subtle brass creates a bold sound. Themes of pride dissolve by themes of redemption as Steven spits lyrics describing where he's been - and where he is now thanks to Christ.
Steven closes the album with "Even Louder," joined by Leeland Mooring in the vocals. Combine rap's structures and vocal styles with hints of a hymn's sounds and this is the song that comes to life. Steven delivers strong and bold verses, supported by a steady snare beat, that describe a heart focused on glorifying God despite the situation. This theme is emphasized by the choir vocals across the chorus: "Even when the drums stop beating, my soul will keep on singing even louder!"
The Second City: Part II is a fantastic addition to Steven Malcolm's collection. It's the mark of an artist in growth - technically, artistically, and spiritually. Each track gives listeners a different glimpse at his story, wrapping together themes sure to resonate with audiences. If Steven keeps this up, the rest of The Second City collection is sure to keep getting better and better.