In 1992, Mad About You and Northern Exposure were popular among TV viewers, Brendan Fraser made his big screen debut in Encino Man, and exercise fanatics rushed out to buy the Thighmaster. While groups like House of Pain and Mr. Big were dominating in mainstream music, one group of hip-hoppers released an album that would forever change the Christian music industry. Enter in the most critically acclaimed project of DC Talk's career, Free At Last. Coming back from a year and a half following the fanbase they gained from 1990's Nu Thang, DCT opted for a fresher and more polished album that would literally outdo their previous efforts. Under the producing helm of Mark Heimmerman, Free At Last is officially solidified as one of the best selling albums ever in the Christian market.
Songs such as "Luv Is a Verb" (summarizing that we should love one another as God does) and "That Kinda Girl" (a brief synopsis of Proverbs 31) brought forth beats and lyrics that remain unmatched by today's hot rap groups. This album produced several radio hits, such as the racial harmony-invoked "Socially Acceptable" and the group's dance/pop remake of the Doobie Brothers' classic "Jesus Is Just Alright," with original lyrics composed by TobyMac himself. A personal favorite of mine is DC Talk's hip-hop take on Bill Withers' "Lean On Me," which includes a rap break in from Toby that is totally mind-blowing. Free At Last also gave more opportunity for vocalists Michael and Kevin to take over lead vocal responsibilities as shown in songs like "Say the Words," "The Hardway," and "Socially Acceptable" while continuing to keep a constant hip-hop presence throughout each track. Possibly the biggest surprise and boldest move on the album is the rock-n-roll charged "Time Is," which served as a pre-cursor towards what was held in the future for DC Talk. "Word 2 The Father" is a near perfect ending to the album where Toby includes song titles from past DCT songs in the song's final verse. The closing track is the "Jesus is Just Alright Reprise," which features amazing vocal skills from Michael and Kevin uttering the words "Jesus, He is my Friend."
Since Free At Last, all three members of DC Talk have sold over 3 million combined copies of their albums Jesus Freak and Supernatural, each recorded a pair of albums separate from each other, collaborated with other popular CCM artists, and have co-produced and/or been responsible for signing some of today's top CCM groups and bands. There is no doubt that Free At Last has become a permanent staple in the turning point of Christian music in the 90's. It will be an interesting turn of events to see what these three have planned to do together in the near future as a group based on their successful solo careers. Free At Last is an album that will never be forgotten for years to come.- Review date: 2/14/05, written by Paul Portell
dc Talk put out one incredible album with Free At Last. With a mix of "old-school rap" and hip-hop fused with a rock edge, this album was a huge smash in the Christian music world, even managing to turn some heads in the mainstream world.
Highlight songs include "Luv Is A Verb," "That Kinda Girl" (My personal favorite... one of the coolest beats out there), "Jesus Is Just Alright" (A Doobie Brother's cover song), and "Time Is."
Free At Last offers a variety of different topics such as finding the right Christian girl ("That Kinda Girl"), our society lacking good values ("Socially Acceptable"), and remaining pure for marriage ("I Don't Want It"). While dc Talk has put forward more pop/rock based recordings in the years since this release, you will easily find that they are just as talented in this style of music as they are in the Jesus Freak style they're known for most today.
Make sure you check out Free At Last... a real significant piece of CCM history.Review date: 7/2/04, written by Brandon Tyler Byron Rarig for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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