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Review: Identity - Aaron Ray
By Sarah P.
Christian hip-hop artist Aaron Ray burst onto the Christian music scene this year with the release of his professional debut album, Identity. Released in late August, Aaron’s debut is a cry for Christian teenagers to find their identity in God, not in their appearance or popularity. “Your identity is not in who others say you are. Your identity is not found in your mistakes or who you say that you are. Your identity is found in who God says you are,” Aaron told GGFG in a recent interview. The album sounds like Thousand Foot Krutch, a band Aaron says inspired him as a teenager, with a hip-hop/rock feel.
Aaron isn’t afraid to address tough topics in his music. “Holy,” the single on Identity, is a very personal song about his father’s current struggle with cancer and COPD. The lyrics describe not only Aaron’s pain at seeing his father struggle, but also the ultimate peace he finds in knowing God is in control of the situation and knows best.
“Drowning (feat. Laquan Green),” is a song about battling depression and suicidal thoughts. Throughout his ministry, Aaron has encountered many teens struggling to find hope through hard situations. “They need to know that Jesus loves them and that there’s hope in this life,” he says.
“I’m Not Afraid (feat. Emily Wyrick),” and “Fire Back (feat. Chris Blue),” are both songs about standing up for what you believe, not matter the cost. They radiate a message of strength in Christ in the middle of tough times. “Bow Down,” echoes that message with strong lyrics, amazing guitar by Justin Forshaw from WEASHUMAN, and special guest vocals from Matt Baird from Spoken. “Riot,” is a moving battle cry for Christians to speak out about moral issues. “Psycho,” talks about Aaron’s struggles from his ministry and life on the road.
The title track, “Identity,” features a guest rap and vocals from recording artists Sicily and B. Cooper. It perfectly captures the message of the album as a whole. “Blessed (feat. Doug Shock,” and “Not About That Money (feat. ZG),” are both songs off of Aaron’s second studio album, Born Sinner. The versions on Identity have a re-mixed feel and added lyrics. “Perfect,” features smooth, soulful guest vocals by recording artist Benjah.
Identity would be a great album for anyone who enjoys hip-hop/rock styles with a candid, biblical message. “I want everyone who listens to my new album to feel empowered, encouraged, challenged, and stronger,” Aaron says. I think he accomplishes that goal very well in Identity, and I think most hip-hop fans will love this outspoken debut.
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