Resistance is intrinsically attached to freedom, for freedom cannot come without rebellion.
For emancipation to take place our country had to fight against the rebellious Southern states; before the Voting Rights Act we had the march to Selma; and before the end of apartheid Nelson Mandela and many others had to rebel against the racist South African government. Renowned Black abolitionist, Frederick Douglass understood this notion very well: “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but didn’t receive an answer until I prayed with my feet.” Douglass knew that if he was going to achieve true freedom, both spiritually and physically, he would have to live that out in a true act of rebellion.
Reach Records artist KB (born Kevin Elijah Burgess) channels that message of rebellion on his new album, Today We Rebel (released October 20).
The follow up to 2015’s Tomorrow We Live, Today We Rebel is a 14-track call to truly live in the freedom Christ has given us. This foundational message of the album comes from Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” KB holds true to these words on opening track “DNOU,” on which he bold proclaims: “Don’t nobody own us.” This message is true not just for Christians, but is also rally cry for other Black and brown believers who aren’t as free in a society designed to hold them back. KB challenges his fans to live in the glory of Christ, which in itself is an act of rebellion.
In an interview with Faithfully Magazine, the 29-year-old Florida native says he wanted the album to be “cinematic” sonically, which he and his team of producers (Cardec Drums, Joseph Prielozny and Dirty Rice) pulled off. This is KB’s fourth major project and he has really found his sound as an artist. The album stays in the realm of South Florida trap mixed with a little contemporary gospel and worship. The album is full of energy and hype with songs like “Tempo” and “Not Today Satan,” while songs such as “New Portrait” and “Sing to You” creates a more worshipful atmosphere.
The one surprise on the album is “Get Through (ft. Lecrae).” After Lecrae’s September release of the solid project All Things Work Together, his collab with KB does not meet expectations and, in some ways, feels forced. Despite this minor stumble, Today We Rebel stays true to its overall message of rebelling while waiting for tomorrow. The remaining 13 tracks take dark, grimy trap beats—and the occasional stringed instrument—and blends them beautifully with lyrics that glorify and point to our freedom in Christ.
While the music featured on Today We Rebel is some of the best of KB’s career so far, one of album’s major highlights is its artwork. Designed by Alex Medina, the cover album depicts the best artwork seen to date on a Reach Records project and, arguably, is the greatest album cover in Christian hip-hop history. The detailing is immaculate and filled with hidden gems all throughout, including a painting of Frederick Douglass.
Upon the Today We Rebel‘s release, there were grumblings that this might be the CHH album of the year. Although the year is coming to a close, it’s still too early to make that call just yet. That being said, Today We Rebel is a solid project with a lot of good music that will keep listeners engaged for a long time to come.