Review by Wildy Haskell
Kimberly Williams, AKA Majxsty, sings from the heart on her album Pray. Writing Scripture-based hip-hop/rap songs, Williams reaches out to all those who are facing dark times in their lives. With an ecumenical mind born of the fisherman’s spirit of the Apostles, Williams spins webs in rhyme that wrap around the hungry, the poor and the oppressed, lifting them up into the light. Blessed with a love of music from a young age, Majxsty’s mission in live was driven home when she came to know God at the age of 26.
Majxsty pulls no punches on “Answering The Call”, beginning with a seeming dialogue with God that evolves into a sermon on the importance of accepting God into your life. Scriptural elements float in and out of the lyrical storm that Majxsty creates as she cajoles and encourages listeners to pray and listen for the voice of God in their own lives. Majxsty’s lyrical style, interestingly enough, calls upon the same cadences and stylistic concerns that fuel popular rap and hip-hop, but is full-bore on spiritual issues. “Pray” finds Majxsty in full sermon mode, spouting scriptural references with chapter and verse designations that may lead listeners to read the Bible. There’s more of a mid-tempo hip-hop feel to this tune, as Majxsty slows the pace for a quasi-R&B chorus.
“The Devil Is A Liar” finds Majxsty waxing poetic on the ways in which Satan tries to lead people astray. This is accomplished in an arrangement that is fresh enough to find its way onto popular and urban radio stations. Majxsty accomplished this as an almost clinical breakdown of truths rather than an overt barrage of opinion. “Would You Know” is a bit rote, alternating comparisons between Jesus and the Antichrist in a lyrically flat brocade. Regardless of your thoughts on the ideas contained in the song, this one becomes a difficult listen as it progresses due the purely repetitive nature of the song.
“Four Horsemen Ride” breaks down the end times story detailed in the Gospel of John. Written in deep imagery, the prophecy is one of the hardest to understand in the Bible, but Majxsty breaks it down into understandable terms without losing much in the way of understanding or meaning. The arrangement itself is actually quite catchy as well. She follows up this apocalyptic story with “Repent”, a classic pulpit pivot from death to eternal life. The transition is well done, and Majxsty rhymes with a vibrancy and inspired air that cannot be faked.
“I Will Destroy” takes on an apologetic tone in entreating people to love God. The song itself is a bit flat, although the vocal line on the chorus is sonically appealing. This transitions abruptly into “The Lord’s Anointed”, which relies on intensity, repetition and anger rather to drive it. This is sonically inconsistent with much of what has come before, and also sounds theologically dissonant with the gospel message that Majxsty has preached up to this point. Majxsty gets back to her focus on “Will You Answer”, with a call to those who have listened thus far to make a commitment to God.
Majxsty takes to the pulpit for Pray, dealing in an interesting mix of gospel teaching and fire and brimstone preaching throughout the album. On the whole the effort is well-done, although she does succumb to the some of the baser emotions in cajoling listeners to follow the path of Jesus. This might negatively affect the obvious mission of the album, particularly for those skeptical of belief in God, but the album is generally a success both in sonic quality and message.
Review by Wildy Haskell
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)