Guvna B – Scrapbook | Mixtape Review & Free DL

Gospel Music has undergone somewhat of a transformation over the last decade. Whilst the traditional choirs, worship groups and Kirk Franklin are still commonly referred to when mentioning the genre, here in the UK, the recent wave of Christian rappers (both in Hip Hop and Grime), has swept the genre into a frenzy. Amidst the various names who are pushing the sub-genre of Gospel music, Guvna B stands as the most prominent of the group.

The east London born 21 year old’s list of accomplishments are quite remarkable; winning the MOBO for Best Gospel, supporting US superstar Kirk Franklin and headlining at the Indig02 alongside fellow artists Victizzle and Faith Child are just some of the accolades he has achieved. As a result of this, his New Year’s Day release of the Scrapbook mixtape has captured the attention of more than just the faithful Gospel folk.

One preconception of Christian rap is that lyrically, it would be made up of “preachy jargon” which wouldn’t interest those outside the religion. But Guvna B’s self analytical rhymes, boyish charm and recognisable flow steer clear of these assumptions, resulting in a Christian mixtape which all won’t have trouble digesting. The intro addresses a number of issues – including the average music fan’s perspective of Gospel Music – delivered swiftly over a 140 beat.

Scrapbook is made up of twenty tracks of neck cranking Grime beats, soulful Hip Hop aswell as well as grooves you’d usually associate with Gospel, Guvna’s strengths as an MC/rapper come in his ability to switch to the appropriate style and mood of each track.

“See The Light” explains the rapper’s absence from the scene and, with its anthemic production and strong vocals from GKid, it provides an early highlight on the mixtape. Guvna’s lyrics are far from preachy or condemning. Instead they document his own personal experiences aswell as proclaiming the joys in which he finds in being a Christian.

Guvna B – “See The Light”:

On the impressive “Stay” Guvna, alongside fellow rapper Jahaziel and Ms Tai bring uplifting vibes to a soulful instrumental. Also playing storyteller, the sombre “Kofi” featuring Michaela the Poet tells a haunting story of a childhood friend whose life of crime and gangs ends in tragedy over a moving piano composition.

Exceptional, eclectic production from a variety of producers including The Confectionary, Victizzle and Soundbwoy holds the mixtape together. But whilst twenty tracks might seem generous for fans of Guvna, newcomers may find its one hour plus duration somewhat tiring and makes it difficult to recollect which tracks stood out. Also, the heavy use of vocalists for choruses is somewhat unnecessary and feels repetitive when listening to a compilation with 20 songs.

Scrapbook is a standout mixtape, not just for a Gospel release but for any genre. Guvna B delivers witty, reflective rhymes with a precision and confidence which comes natural, in comparison to other spitters whose bravado may seem hollow. When serene on the stirring “I Wanna Be”, playing the classic MC on “My Story” or even dropping heavy bars with the scene’s favourites on the gospel version of “Game Over” the Ghana born rapper switches flows, moods and word patterns appropriately for each track.

Although it’s an early release, Scrapbook has enough weight to carry itself throughout 2011 and who knows – maybe its defining qualities will push Guvna and the UK Gospel scene through the narrow doors of mainstream success.

DOWNLOAD: Guvna B – Scrapbook mixtape