The 29th Chapter
For those unfamiliar with the British hip-hop scene, The 29th Chapter began to get recognized in 1998-1999 as one of London’s only hip-hop gospel acts. Performing under the moniker Acts 29 and introducing new members to their line-up, the crew’s image solidified with the selection of the performance name The 29th Chapter in 2002. With this name, the crew, known in short as “29”, convey the continuity of the book of Acts for today’s Christian with statements like, “the Acts of the apostles aren’t finished; we are living in the 29th chapter of Acts”.
The 29th Chapter (Mr. Prince, McGladius, Navigator and Phonetix) do it all: they speak at schools and perform in small household settings as well as the massive Christian youth conference Soul Survivor held in Western England. Their distinctiveness peaks in their live shows where they spice up their rap sets with true performance hip-hop, incorporating breakdancing (McGladius is a talented b-boy) and the occasional STOMP!-esque urban symphony.
In the vein of their contemporaries, the lads of The 29th Chapter employ electronics and play with everyone’s favourite – auto-tune – on some tracks, but maintain a more classic vibe throughout the album’s majority. Louder opens with the easy-on-the ears, synth-infused track “Radio” celebrating the crew’s 10th anniversary, before delving into the corpus of the album.
Title track “Louder” calls on authentic Christ-centered music as a force for change, resolving to inspire hope in its listeners. Next up is a warning to young men to “Man Up”, a song about growing up, taking on responsibility, and respecting others. Though casual, “Man Up” prepares the ground for sombre track “The Trenches” and heavy-hitting “Fall Back”. “The Trenches” contends for the innocence of children who grow up with no role models, lamenting war and street violence, and “Fall Back” closes the album with a severe scolding to rappers who “spit that pornographic sound you call rap” and takes no prisoners by following up with, “your label’s just as dumb for paying you to record that!”
With the release of Louder and 10 years of bold performance under their belt, The 29th Chapter continues to gain acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic and are a force of revival in gospel hip-hop.