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Morray - Street Sermons Music Album Reviews

Morray - Street Sermons Music Album Reviews
The Fayetteville rapper’s debut album is at its best when he shines a light on his darkest moments and traces his glow-up step-by-step, imbuing each word with purpose.

For North Carolina rapper Morray, music is an audible beacon of light. He first started singing in church at four years old and took to rapping years later after briefly moving from Fayetteville, North Carolina to Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Being kicked out of school for fighting led him to the streets and, eventually, back to the comfort of music. His first recorded song was a birthday post to his wife on Facebook in 2014, which proved to be his gateway to a serious music career. After six years of fine-tuning, his voice had become a precise instrument, one with the power of a gospel singer and the melodic finesse of a rapper.

On his debut project Street Sermons, that voice is complemented by a story both personal and universal. The album’s lead single “Quicksand” pairs Morray’s rapid-fire delivery with tales about his time in the streets, full of close-call shootings and desperation, and elevates the narrative with trills that breach the surface of Hagan and Ant Chamberlin’s warm production like a shark’s fin. The song’s ethos—the struggle is real, but it doesn’t have to last forever—turns out to be a worthy thesis for an artist who’s gone from penning hit singles in his bathroom to co-signs from fellow North Carolinian J. Cole. Street Sermons is at its best when Morray shines a light on his darkest moments and traces his glow-up step-by-step. And even when he occasionally wades into generic territory, his vocals imbue each word with dimension and purpose.

Morray’s good-natured approach to his newfound fortune is infectious: “Smile, nigga. Enjoy your bag because your good is right the fuck there,” he recently told Genius’s For The Record about the project’s intent. At first glance, there’s little separating him from Rod Wave, another crooner whose music blurs the tear-soaked lines between rap and the blues. But where Wave’s perspective usually lands on the glass-half-empty side, Morray’s point-of-view is the inverse: the glass isn’t only half-full—he can see the bottle containing his salvation. “Trenches” uses an anecdote about five friends sharing a bottle of liquor and a bag of weed to highlight how a strong community can make the darkness of hood living bearable.

When Morray does have to leave the comforts of home, it’s to support his family. On “Reflections,” he sings of buying his daughter a birthday cake using an EBT card during a bout of homelessness and remembers trying—and failing—to kill someone for profit. Even when he’s afraid of losing his grip on reality, his will pushes him to be a bard for his relatives and himself. “Been there, did this, did that, nigga/I seen so much pain,” he belts on the song’s hook.

What makes Street Sermons largely so engaging is Morray’s voice. It’s a gritty tone that doesn’t sound strained as he leaps from mid to high range with frightening ease. His breathless performances on songs like “Kingdom” and “Big Decisions” give equal dimension to the pains and triumphs that color his world. It even energizes the handful of otherwise rote songs peppered throughout the project. Street Sermons only stumbles when Morray drifts from the personal touch of his best songs into message-mongering. The anthem “That’s On God” and the chest-puffing kiss-offs “Facade” and “Real Ones” feel like the down sections of a rousing speech from a streetwise deacon. When the stories falter, though, Morray’s voice carries them to the end, every word an edict delivered from a mountaintop.

Morray has expressed concerns about his earlier music sounding too much like Drake and Chris Brown. While he’s found a unique, compelling voice on Street Sermons, the shifts away from his hopeful perspective tug at the seams of what’s otherwise a solid project—especially for a debut. Rap in 2021 is no stranger to sadness, which means anyone pushing back against the tide with positive vibes will only stand out more aggressively.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Morray - Street Sermons Music Album Reviews Morray - Street Sermons Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 Rating: 5

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