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Pentheo Review

 written by: Dazz Wright

It is said that Art is supposed to evoke an emotion. Music is probably my favorite form of art, as
music has this transformative ability. The right song can provide astonishingly clear recall of how
much I yearned for a particular girl to notice me in middle school. Another song will remind me
of all the girls I paid no attention to in high school. The very next song could summon a powerful
urge to dance, while also reminding me of all the dance floors I’ve bullied throughout my college
years.
When I was asked listen to Pentheo by Redd Lettaz, I transported through Redd Lettaz personal
struggles via his music. If you haven’t looked it up by now; Pentheo means to mourn or lament
with deep and intense sorry often represented by open wailing and weeping. Track 7 also gives
an excellent articulation of the definition of Pentheo. It seems a heavy subject to title an album,
but listening to the album, Pentheo explains itself.
The first track Redd Rumm starts like any first track on a good Hip-Hop album should. The beat
drops, my head starts to nod, then Redd Lettaz starts to spit. As the lyrics envelop me quickly I
learn of Redd Lettaz frustrations with this Rap Game. Christian rappers often catch hell for
being Christian rappers. Church folk are often resistant to the Boom-Bap, and the appearance
of anything outside of Hymns. Fellow rappers dismiss lyrics that don’t fit the commercial mould
of sex, drugs, and violence. Redd Lettaz masterfully expresses his frustrations with lyrical
finesse that induced funk-faces and many an audible “umph!”
Moving into Track 2 Invincible!!! Redd Lettaz showcases his bravado out the gate with quick
forewarning. Afterwards comedic styling with flurry of punchlines fly, which are fitting for Redd
Lettaz vocal texture. I’m enjoying a good laugh at these punchlines, and wonder what “hit dog”
will holla once they’ve heard this track. At the 3:05 min/sec mark the track takes a shift marked
by intentional static. The track then takes on a more serious tone almost feeling like a separate
or hidden bonus track. Maybe I’m just slow on the draw, but it isn’t until near the end of the
Invincible!!! that I realize that the static is like unto channels changing on over-the-air TV. So
even though Invincible!!! is one track it plays like flipping the channels in Redd Lettaz thoughts.
Mission is the 3rd Track of Pentheo. Redd Lettaz has settle into a far more serious tone. He also
enlists the aid of J Griff. It’s very clear that iron sharpens iron. Redd Lettaz and J Griff’s verses
feel very cohesive and driven by each other. It was also refreshing to hear, as currently many
features on some current Rep Tracks feel phoned in. Like here’s some bars I wasn’t planning on
using, here you can have them. Oh, and I’ll record them for a fee… of course.
“An artist duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” ~ Nina Simone.
My favorite track is probably #Revolution. Redd Lettaz puts the spotlight on social networks,
Black Lives Matter, Police shootings, and all the convoluted murky waters that they all mix into.
This is one of those tracks that I’m constantly on the look-out for from Hip-Hop. I want my
heroes of the mic to speak out about what I’m seeing in the world today, but only as they can. I
need to hear my favorite Emcees weave together words into bars; 16 of them to be precise.
Each 16 needs to reflect what I’m seeing, hearing, and feeling today with such accuracy that 20
years from now my kid will understand how I was feeling. That’s why #Revolution is my favorite
track.
Not to cheapen the next two tracks, but for the sake or brevity, I’m going to condense these two
into a single thought. Track 5 Myn How Ya Tawk Redd Lettaz shows even more versatility with a
touch of patois in his flow. Track 6 Esrever (Reverse spelled backwards) is classic Hip-Hop third
person omniscient story telling. These two tracks show me Redd Lettaz can execute the switch
up, but he remains a student of his craft.
The 3:30 mark of Track 6 Esrever plays candid audio between Redd Lettaz and his wife. A
seamless segue into Track 7 titled Chapter 16 is when I was struck straight in the feels. Redd
Lettaz shares the loss of his wife in the most intimate fashion. He accounts — in lyrics — the
moments leading right up to his wife’s passing. You can hear Redd Lettaz in his moment of
Pentheo in the background as an exquisite teaching of the word Pentheo is explained in the
foreground as the track plays on. I am also a widower. I’ve shared that fact with many, but I’ve
reserved the intimate recalling of my loss for very few. Redd Lettaz shares his gut wrenching
account to all who would listen.
As Chapter 16 plays to a close the Tracks change to 8 The Voicezzz. The Voicezzz— though
listed as an interlude — really operates more like a continuation of Chapter 16. In Track 8 I
followed Redd Lettaz further into his despair. As a listener I connect with Redd Lettaz due to our
similar losses. However, even if you never experienced loss of a loved one, trust you can still
connect to Redd Lettaz in this track.
As I continued to Track 9 Pentheo it feels tightly tied to the energies, and subject established in
Chapter 16. This Track 9 also shares it title with the album. The energies and subject matter of
tracks 7-9 are so well knit that I wonder if they were originally 3 separate tracks, or an LP that
had to be cropped for modern listing?
Track 10 The Vicexxx gets real, like really real. Even if I wasn’t a widower I’ve fallen prey to
wiles of problematic women while in need of comfort and consolation. In Vicexxx not only does
Redd Lettaz admit to his mistakes with raw candor, he then rips on himself. Its like Redd Lettaz
guilt morphs into an early morning radio DJ exclaiming loud — and in stereo — how dumb Redd
Lettaz was for his recent indiscretion.
D@nc3z W1t Gl1tch3z the 11th track on Pentheo has a special place in my liking.
Professionally I currently work in tech. So when Redd Lettaz likens his current state of mourning
as his OS (operating system) glitching; I was creatively mad at myself for not thinking of that
wordplay jewel first.
Tracks 12 - 14 bring this musical journey to an end. Track 12 Dizzsatisfied expresses how his
current situation as a widower and single father aren’t ideal, but he’s dealing. Dealing pt 1&2
happens to be the apt title of the Track 13. Ending with Alive the final track of Pentheo. Redd
Lettaz ends his opus with a courageously uplifting crescendo.
Often times when promoting a Christian rapper I have to assure the saints that it’s Godly music,
then speak out the otha side of my neck to the sinner saying it’s dope. I won’t do either with
Pentheo. Instead I’ll say if you like your HIp-Hop with; dope beats, real lyrics, wordplay, style
switches, punchlines, and all wrapped in a story. Check out my man Redd Lettaz, cause bless
are those that Pentheo.