Album Review: Beckah Shae – ‘Champion’
Artist: Beckah Shae
Street Date: 5-6-14
Record Label: Shae Shoc Records
iPod Pick: Me and My God (Feat. Eric Dawkins)
You’ve gotta love Beckah Shae. The first time I came across Beckah’s music was during the Christmas holiday of 2010. I was lazily browsing through iTunes looking for new music (then using the online iGenius feature) and I stumbled across this artist who had mainstream artists in her similar artists section (I later found out the reason for this was because Beckah’s music was independently produced and released). I would never forget playing Here In This Moment, Worth Waiting For, Faith Hope & Love, Surrender and Forgiveness (From the Life album) amidst a party playlist for a friend who had invited me to deejay for a house party and people kept asking ‘Whose sound is that?’ afterwards commenting ‘It’s unique’. I would later get hooked on ‘Forgiveness’ which became my life anthem in a particular season. Since then Beckah has released more records like Destiny and Rest. Beckah Shae’s music is nothing short of boldness, life and purpose. She has a message to share she isn’t ashamed of. In fact her voice comes with a flavor of chutzpah.
When Beckah threw out a poll on Facebook about what her fans would like to hear on her next record and most people commented worship, the hot tempo worshipful Rest was the result. When Beckah threw out a poll on Facebook again about what her fans would like to hear afterwards and most commented Gym Music, the infectious super-bassed Champion was the result.
Champion has no dull moment and it’s best handled wholly as what it was made for; gym music. I really had anticipated Champion cause it took some time to release after Beckah’s last major effort. On getting it I was a bit disappointed at first. It sounded techno all through, music for just a certain purpose. I didn’t feel at first listening the depth and clarity that usually accompanied Beckah’s music. Then I pushed through the first 3 tracks and found the first gem My All , which featured the veteran rapper T Bone. However, it’s still dance but the soul we are used to with Beckah is well infused. The next gem is the Israel Houghton featured Jericho, which would do for a treadmill and a choir for a Sunday morning rendition too.
I’m thankful I didn’t missed the exceptional Heartbeat, one of Beckah’s finest till date based on my earlier perception of the record. It combines oriental tune with hard pumping beats. Honestly, nothing like it before. At times it sounds like a battle anthem, rising in crescendo as you envision Beckah marching towards the anti-territory with her own ‘Girls’. At times, it comes across that ‘not to be missed’ tune to bust a move to in a club or even in your car when radio plays it.
Another gem is Me and My God which in my opinion is worth the price of the whole album. It’s a beautiful warfare song. The line ‘Me and My God. . . you’ll never see me without Him’ would get you closer to a window or roll down your car window as you let the wind sink in the tune. Most of all Eric Dawkins (of Dawkins & Dawkins fame) brings crazy harmonies to this amazing tune. ‘Pioneer’ one of the early singles from the album is a really cool track that deals with the topic of not being scared to enter uncharted territories. ‘Go to the unknown’ Beckah sings‘You’re a pioneer’. The amazing legendary Crystal Lewis is featured on ‘Legacy’ and Beckah’s little daughters get to do their thing on ‘Your Kingdom Come’. The former start with a poignant but yet true line ‘How can you say that the world is in a terrible state when you haven’t done anything’.
‘Vision’ is also another gem hidden towards the end of the album. More like an heart cry than a treadmill move song. Same as ‘Me First’ which utilizes a RnB/Pop style in contrast to the whole album techno feel.
Like always, we hardly know what we will expect from Beckah as she’s a new territory charter in music. Hear her Champion heart beat on this new record. Who knows you might soon join her by becoming a Pioneer in your own respective field. Pun definitely intended