Album Review: Collision Records – WLAK (We Live As Kings)

Over the past year no label or artist has made as
much noise in Christian Hip-Hop as Collision
Records. They are everywhere, and with good reason.
They exploded onto the scene about this time last
year with Swoope’s classic offering “ Wake Up.” From
there we were introduced to Alex Faith and Christon
Gray, and their stellar projects “ Honest 2 God” and
“Body Art.” By this time Collision Records was
becoming a household name. Then they signed Dre
Murray late last year, and that took the label to a
whole new level. Shortly after, they announced their
new album We Live As Kings would release March
2013 and dropped a stunning single “Imagine,” which
created a Reach Records type of anticipation to their
upcoming project.
With the Collision Records star shining as bright as
ever, they release their highly anticipated album
WLAK. This is a tough environment for Collision to
drop their group album, because anticipation is
always tricky to deal with. It can either elevate you to
super-stardom or drop you completely off of
everyone’s radar. Fans of the record label probably
don’t feel the latter because of the stellar resume that
the label has built over the past year. They shouldn’t
because Collision Records is a fantastic record label.
It’s ran by solid brothers and it’s artists are equally as
solid. So with a strong label and top notch artists,
WLAK promises to exceed everyone’s high
expectations.
One Thing That Surprised Me
Like most fans of CHH I have listened to a lot of
music from Collision over the past year, so I didn’t
think there was anything they could do that would
surprise me. I was wrong. WLAK had beautiful
continuity and chemistry. I was surprised by this
simply because it is hard to do. Groups can work
together for years trying to get great chemistry. In
less than a year, Collision has developed a level of
chemistry like that of a seasoned group.
Chemistry is easily the most important aspect of a
group album. If a group doesn’t have good chemistry,
it’s very noticeable and can bring down the whole
record. In the same way, great chemistry can elevate
an album. WLAK was elevated by that chemistry.
Each song flowed well and nothing seemed forced.
They worked together to create a sound and direction
for the entire album. It wasn’t about individual
performances, but about working together to make
art. They used each artists’ specific skill set
beautifully on this record. All of those things aided in
making this record great.
Two Things That Made WLAK Special
Collision Records is a special record label. Unlike
anything I’ve ever seen in CHH. There are several
things that make them special but there are two that
have always stuck out to me, and continued to stick
out to me on WLAK. That is their lyricism and
creativity. There are a lot of strong lyricists and
creative artists in CHH, but none combine the two
with the excellence that Collision has. Those same
things that make the label special, made WLAK
special.
Collision is made up of four of the strongest lyricists
in all of CHH. Individually Alex Faith, Christon Gray,
Dre Murray and Swoope have all made noise because
of their lyrical prowess. They all brought their A
games for this album. Each artist will leave you with
multiple jaw dropping moments. The double
entendres and metaphors that fans have come to
expect and love were also on display. The album was
also incredibly deep lyrically. There is enough
theology on here for a bible college student, but it’s
cleverly matched with the application so you never
get overwhelmed. Lyrically this record is nothing
short of amazing.
Collision isn’t just made up of some of CHH’s best
lyricists, they also carry some of CHH’s most creative
artists as well. That creativity shined all throughout
WLAK. It’s most seen in the song making. Each track
is like it’s own individual experience. Almost like a
movie, each track pulls you in, and you’re with them
in that moment. It then builds to a climax that will
leave you speechless, and by the end of the track you
are begging for more. Those small experiences then
turn into one fantastic experience by albums end.
This experience is created through amazing
production and each artists’ individual ability to fit
what they do to the song. There is versatility in
sound, flow and some clever lyricism that showcases
their dynamic creativity.
One Thing I Wish I Would Have Heard More
Of
There weren’t many missteps on WLAK, it was pretty
much a perfect album. I enjoyed listening to every
second of it. But there was one thing that I wish I
would have heard more of, and that is Christon Gray
rapping. He did a lot of singing throughout the
record but he only had a few appearances as an MC.
One of the times that he blessed us with his MC skills
was on the track “Broken Kings,” where he spit this
gem:
“We’ve been battling ourselves like forever/ dog fight,
jackals with their tails tied together
all types of Christian churches and world views/ but
what about the church that the world views
they see a perils voyage into/ the dead sea with some
pear-less oysters”
This is exactly why I love him as an MC, but there
wasn’t as much of this as I hoped there would be on
this record.
Chris is an insanely talented MC with a lyrical ability
that is matched only by a few. I was hoping to see
him take that talent and run it instep with his label-
mates more often than just a few times on a 13 track
album. However unfortunate that was for me not to
hear it, it still wasn’t all in all a bad thing. Chris is
just as talented a singer and song maker, as he is a
rapper. He also provided exactly what each song
needed with his singing ability. Chris had a
phenomenal performance on WLAK. But because I’m
a fan of Christon Gray the MC, I wish I could have
heard a little more of that.
WLAK a Classic?
I don’t want to be the guy that goes around calling
everything an “Instant Classic” after a few listens.
Classics are built up over time, because a lot can
change as time goes by. So I’m not going to call
WLAK a classic right now, but I will say that this
record does deserve to have that question asked
about it. WLAK has all the makings of a classic
album, the only thing left to do is wait. If their prior
music is any indication then we won’t have to wait
long to add WLAK to the classic list.
Question
Do you think that WLAK is a classic?

I Am TholhuGospel

Deitrick Haddon Confirms New Album, ‘R.E.D.’ (Restoring Everything Damaged)

This, as far as I am concerned is one of, if not the best news to hit the gospel music scene this year.
And Yes, it’s Deitrick Haddon who is set to continue from where he paused two years ago with the “Church On The Moon” Album.
June 2013, The “Mighty God” and “Well Done” singer has confirmed he will be releasing a New album Titled R.E.D (Restoring Everything Damaged). And i know that fans (Like Me) can’t wait for the month of June to finally arrive.
More album details will be reaveled soon, stay posted.

I Am TholhuGospel

March 5, 2013…And the Albums are Here

For fans of Gospel Music, Tomorrow is a day to look forward to. It will be a busy one for the market and I expect a lot of reviews to follow…
March 5, 2013
– Don Moen – Ultimate Collection – Integrity Music –
Provident
– Bethel Music – Without Words – Integrity Music –
Provident
– Hans Zimmer – The Bible: Original Score –
Provident
– iWorship – Now/Next – Integrity Music – Provident
– Various – Jesus Firm Foundation: Hymns Of
Worship – Reunion Records – Provident
– Beyond the Ashes – Living in the Moment – Stow
Town Records – Provident
– WLAK – WLAK (We Live As Kings) – Collision
Records
– Various – Ten (Digital)
– Glenn Packiam – The Mystery Of Faith – Integrity
Music – Provident
– KJ-52 – Dangerous: Deluxe Edition – BEC –

Please note that this list is subject to change

I Am TholhuGospel

Collision Records/SSMG Ohio WLAK Album Release Party

Collision Records presents WLAK Album Release
Party on Saturday, March 30th, 2012.
The concert will be featuring Dre Murray, Swoope,
Christon Gray, and Alex Faith with special guest
SSMG artist Yaves.
The event will be held at The Underground, 1140
Smiley Ave, Cincinatti, OH. 7:30PM
For tickets, visit: http://www.itickets.com/
events/303073.html

I Am TholhuGospel

Colton Dixon Interview With (JFH)

JFH (Cortney Warner): Hey Colton, this is
Cortney from Jesusfreakhideout.com.
How’s California treating you?
Colton Dixon: It’s great! It’s really warm,
I’m in a jacket with fur on it, and it’s way too
hot for that. I’m realizing that now, but
besides that, it’s really great. *Laughs*
JFH (Cortney): Nice! Are you out there for
Idol stuff?
Colton: I’m actually out here because we’re
rehearsing because I’ll be with Jessica
Sanchez in the Philippines in a couple weeks,
and we were rehearsing for that yesterday.
JFH (Cortney): Very cool, sounds like fun!
OK, aside from your album releasing, which
I believe was just released yesterday, what
else are you looking forward to in 2013?
Colton: Yeah, [the album] did. Man, I’m so
overwhelmed with the response from that. But
I’m really excited to tour with Third Day. Love
those guys, and I’ve listened to those guys
since I was little. My dad is like at “mega fan”
status *laughs* So me and my family are
really excited for that. But besides that, I don’t
even know what’s coming at the end of this
year; I’m just taking it a couple months at a
time, really. So I’d say just between the album
and the Third Day tour, that’s definitely a lot
to look forward to this year.
JFH (Cortney): Right on, sounds like it’ll
be a lot of fun with Third Day and
everything else you’ve got going on. How
did that all come about? The Third Day
tour.
Colton: Actually, management told me that
Third Day was interested, and then I had
dinner with Mac Powell and his wife back
when the American Idol tour came through
there. And they’re so sweet; Mac officially
extended the invitation there, and we talked
about it a little bit and I was definitely on
board. Even since management mentioned it,
I said “yes, definitely take that and run with
that.” [I’m] really looking forward to that.
They’re great guys and they’ll be great “first
mentors” for my first tour–being out on the
road, and seeing and knowing the “do’s and
don’ts”; it’s gonna be awesome!
JFH (Cortney): Sounds like it’s going to be
a great tour for sure. Since your album just
released yesterday, what’s been some of the
early feedback/fan’s responses to it so far?
Colton: From what I’ve seen, it’s all been
really great. I don’t know if people are just not
sharing their negative comments or what
*laughs* But it seems like the fans are really
enjoying it and I know they’ve been extremely
patient. I’ve been working on this record since
the week I was eliminated, you know, so it’s
been a good little period of time that I’ve just
really poured a lot of work into it. Yeah, they
seem to really love it. I know I love it, I’m
really proud of it, and I’m glad they’re
connecting with these songs, too. That was my
biggest priority: that they would really
connect with the songs, and that they could
use these songs as tools to spread the Gospel,
you know? And I’m just super happy about
that.
JFH (Cortney): When it comes to
songwriting, where do you get your
inspiration?
Colton: It varies. It can come out of a Bible
verse, it can come out of a piano lick I’ve been
working on, or there’s even a song called
“Scars” that was inspired by some of my fans’
stories. I asked them to send in their stories
and their testimonies, and I was just really
broken, reading some of these emails, and the
reoccurring word was “scars,” which is kind of
where the song came from. I just wanted to
encourage them, you know? That today’s
another day, a brand new day, you know? To
learn from our mistakes and know that we’re
forgiven, and that we’re not forsaken. It’s just
a new start, every day’s a new start, and I
think some of those people who sent emails
needed to hear that. And it’s so cool to hear
people who got through those things to
connect with that song especially. So it really
varies where song ideas or song inspirations
come from.
JFH (Cortney): I did the review for your
album for our site, and “Scars” was one of
my favorite songs off of your album, so good
job with that one, it’s a good song.
Colton: Awesome!
JFH (Cortney): So, kind of going along with
that, what song has the most meaning to
you/sticks out to you the most on your
record?
Colton: *whistles* Man, people ask me what
my favorite song is, and I end up naming five
or six *laughs* But I think “Scars” is a huge
one for me, I really connect with that song as
well. I’d say “Never Gone” is another one that
I really connect with, and it’s still one of my
favorites, just because it was really what I was
going through towards the end of my Idol
career. I really just felt disconnected from
friends and family, and God at one point, and
I just remember Him comforting me and
saying, “I’ve been with you the whole time,
and I promised that I would never leave you.”
So kinda like an “O ye of little faith” kind of
thing; I’m sure His nickname for me is
“Doubting Thomas” *laughs* But yeah, that
idea behind that song really encouraged me
and I was able to bring it to life with my
producers, and that’s been one that I really
connected with.
JFH (Cortney): And that was the one that
you performed on the tour, right?
Colton: Correct.
JFH (Cortney): So, how do you think this
Third Day tour will be different from your
Idol tour? Aside from the people, that is.
Like production wise and whatnot?
Colton: Um, I will not be dancing to “Moves
Like Jagger,” that’s for sure. *laughs* Man,
fans have some serious blackmail on me,
that’s all I’m saying. *laughs* It’s really going
to be a chance for me to have a set period of
time to really just pour my heart into these
songs, and to really worship with them. I
know I had a brief moment to do that with
“Never Gone” on the Idol tour, but I’m excited
to actually have a time for worship, you know?
Not just one song, or one brief moment, just
to really connect with them, and to really just
be a “window” to look through to see God.
That’s what I want to do in this career, to be a
reflection of what God’s doing. So hopefully
that’ll happen on the Third Day tour. We
know the material, and we’re just gonna get
up there and play it, and rock out on some
songs, but most of the time just get out of the
way and let the Word move, and I’m really
excited for that. We’re gonna have a good
time.
JFH (Cortney): Cool. So, going along those
same lines, if you could create your “dream
tour” with you either headlining or
supporting, with maybe 4-5 acts, who would
it be? And it could be anyone living or dead.
Colton: Switchfoot would be one, (Cortney:
good choice.) Um, man, I think Coldplay
would be another; Lifehouse would be another
one. Um, man, hmm… I think Thirty Seconds
to Mars would be awesome, too, but I don’t
think they would fit the other acts. *laughs*
Musically, those guys are just insane. Blows
my mind. I think Casting Crowns would be
another awesome tour to be apart of as well.
I’ve been to a couple of their shows and, I’m
truly blown away by how genuine they are,
and how Mark Hall is just completely able to
get out of the way, and let the Lord move. And
He really does move, you know? I remember
feeling the Holy Spirit totally filling up that
place when I was there. Yeah, I’ll stick with
those.
JFH (Cortney): Your partnership with
Sparrow Records, how did that come about?
And did you ever consider signing with a
major record label like Atlantic or Warner
Bros or someone along those lines?
Colton: Yeah, I didn’t know, since I was on a
mainstream television show, as far as music
goes, if that was God opening the door to
mainstream music or not. So I had some time
in there where I was just going back and forth
and seeing what God wanted me to do. If I
had the choice, I would’ve gone with Christian
music from the get-go, but I just wanted to
make sure that that’s where He wanted me. So
what I decided to do, instead of asking for a
straight answer, I just asked that God would
be in the middle of these songwriting sessions,
you know? And, just depending on that, that
God would answer it that way, you know, with
songs. And He did; it’s pretty obvious that I
needed to be in Christian music because some
of these songs were pretty specific. But as far
as Sparrow Records goes, it was suggested by
my management company that we have a
meeting with them, and I’d heard great things
about Sparrow Records. They have such an
amazing roster, but even after just one
meeting with them, and really seeing who they
are as people, not only as record people, I was
sold. So it was just a matter of getting the
business side of things taken care of, but I
absolutely love everyone at my record label. I
even go there just to hang out sometimes.
*laughs* They’re just great people, so I’m
really happy with that.
JFH (Cortney): So, while on the Idol tour, I
know you got to sing Switchfoot’s “Meant to
Live,” off of The Beautiful Letdown. You
said that you wanted to sing that on the
show, but you didn’t get a chance to. Were
there any other songs you wanted to sing on
the show but didn’t get a chance to?
Colton: Yeah, we were actually planning on
doing “The Sound of Silence,” by Simon and
Garfunkel on the show, and it was so cool. It
was really stripped down, like, it sounded like
something Danny Elfman and Tim Burton
would’ve put together. *laughs* It was really
rad. I was gonna do “The Show Must Go On”
for Queen Week, would’ve loved to have done
the Switchfoot song, of course, would’ve loved
to have done “I Will Not Bow,” by Breaking
Benjamin; I love that song. There are quite a
few, actually, it just kind of depended on the
theme week. That’s where “The Sound of
Silence” came from. But yeah, there are so
many songs I wish I could’ve done. The “big”
one I really wanted to do was “Everything” by
Lifehouse, so I’m glad I got the opportunity to
do that one.
JFH (Cortney): Yeah, that was a great one.
I didn’t watch the season last year, I felt
kinda bad because I’ve watched every other
season but last year’s, but I heard about
you, and I was able to catch some of the
videos online and whatnot, and that was
great, by the way.
Colton: Thank you very much. But yeah, you
kinda missed out on last season. *laughs*
JFH (Cortney): That’s what I’m hearing, I
was kinda disappointed with the previous
seasons, so I was like “Well, I don’t really
have time to watch it” so I didn’t, and it
ended up being one of the better seasons!
Colton: Ah, OK. But yeah, I understand.
JFH (Cortney): So, who are you currently
listening to right now, like who’s on your
iPod?
Colton: I really, really love hard rock music.
I’m really looking forward to RED’s new
album. RED, Skillet, Fireflight, Family Force
5, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Coldplay… I’m into
a band right now called Death By April. I have
no idea what their band name means, I just
got into their music, and it’s so interesting.
It’s just really, really weird. For me, it’s kinda
like taking Justin Bieber, and putting really
hardcore rock mixed in with it. It’s kind of
like a techno-pop/hard rock. It’s really
awesome and interesting at the same time.
Love it, it’s good stuff, but yeah, I really love
the hard rock stuff. It gets my blood pumping.
*laughs*
JFH (Cortney): How did you know music
was what you wanted to do with your life?
And were there any other potential careers
you considered when you were younger?
Colton: I played baseball for a long time, and
I kind of gave it up for music when I was
around 15. So I really decided that music was
my “thing” at 13 years old; it was the first
time I sang in public and I was just
overwhelmed by the feeling that God was
calling me to that, you know, calling me that
direction. Yeah, if anything else, I would say it
would have been baseball. But I think it was a
good choice, knowing now what I knew then.
Or reverse that, however that goes. *laughs*
JFH (Cortney): A lot of young people look
up to you as a “role model” of sorts now.
Has that affected how you go about your
life, or has it just been “business as usual”?
Colton: If anything, it’s been more
accountability. I mean, I don’t do the whole
“party scene,” I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, or
any of that. But even in just normal decisions,
even if it’s just like, what movies you watch–
especially what movies you tweet/Facebook
about. Man, there definitely is a younger
audience that looks at every move I make, and
that’s why I try to make sure I’m setting a
good example for them. Just having that
accountability and watching what I post has
been good for me, in making decisions on
what I watch or whatever it may be. Yeah, it’s
been really cool for me in that aspect, just to
lead by example.
JFH (Cortney): Very nice. Yeah, you’re 21,
right?
Colton: Yes, I’m 21.
JFH (Cortney): So it’s kind of a weird
balance now, because you’re an adult, but
you have a lot of younger fans looking up to
you, so I’m sure it’s kind of a strange
dynamic, with what you’re going to talk
about and stuff.
Colton: Right, yeah, you just have to be. You
have to be careful about how you approach
“adult” decisions. It’s really what it comes
down to. You know, because there’s a lot of
non-adult “eyes” looking at you and at those
decisions, and maybe even the right decision,
they might just not understand it or
whatever. So yeah, especially just watching
what you post. *laughs* That’s probably the
big thing.
JFH (Cortney): So, I’ve heard you’re a big
Batman fan and I’m assuming you’ve seen
the newer Christopher Nolan Batman films.
Which one is your favorite out of the three
and why?
Colton: Absolutely! I’d have to say The Dark
Knight. I think the third one was great, but I
wish Catwoman would’ve been more like she
was in the Tim Burton film, but I chose The
Dark Knight because Heath Ledger just did a
phenomenal job at doing his job, which was
portraying the Joker. I know that must have
been a feat but it was just so good, you know?
I know Batman’s not like a horror movie or
anything, but there were really moments that
freaked you out. It’s just that, the Joker was
so sick and twisted, and how he went about
being that, and I just thought it was a really
well thought-out movie, portraying two of my
favorite characters which are Batman and
Joker so I really, really loved that movie. Still
do.
JFH (Cortney): Agreed, that’s probably my
favorite out of the three films as well. It was
extremely well done. Going along the same
lines, if your life was a movie, who would
you want to play ‘you’ and what would your
theme song be?
Colton: Hm, that’s a great question. I mean,
I would love for someone like Brad Pitt to play
my character, not gonna lie to you. *laughs*
Man, I don’t know, I think Johnny Depp
would be cool, he looks nothing like me, but I
like him as an actor. I really have no idea on
how to jump on that one. Theme song…
“Jesus Freak” by DC Talk.
JFH (Cortney): Good song. Good CD in
general, too.
Colton: Yes, good CD, amazing band.
JFH (Cortney): For sure! Any other
favorite film, aside from Batman?
Colton: Favorite films. Hm, I can’t list one, to
be honest with you, I’ll list two. “Gladiator”
with Russell Crow, and “The Book of Eli,” with
Denzel Washington.
JFH (Cortney): Both are good films,
definitely. OK, for the last question, what
has God been teaching you lately?
Colton: Man, I think it’s really, even through
the Idol process, just to put all my trust in
Him, and to be patient, and to wait, and to
listen, you know? Just to really rely fully on
Him. He’s gonna get the job done, but it’s
going to be in His time, so we just need to be
patient with what He’s doing. For me, I would
say a prayer, and expect it to happen right
then, you know? But He’s just been teaching
me that it’s all according to His time, and His
plan, and I’m just thankful I get to be a part
of it, you know? In such a big way with the
record coming out or whatever, and even just
with all of that, with Idol, with the first season
I tried out, it didn’t end up working out, and I
just remember feeling like, “man, I thought
this was it,” or whatever. And He’s basically
just saying “not yet” or “be patient, you just
need to be patient.” And when I least expected
it, I tried out for another year, and things
went really well, and I knew that was God
doing all that because I had absolutely no
desire to try out again. *Laughs* But yeah,
definitely just relying fully on Him that
everything’s going to happen according to His
plan, and in His timing. Yeah, that’s definitely
what I’ve been learning.
JFH (Cortney): Very nice, that’s awesome.
Well, thank you so much for your time
tonight, Colton, and I hope you have a great
rest of your night.
Colton: Thank you, it was nice talking with
you as well.
Colton Dixon’s debut album, A Messenger is
available now

I Am TholhuGospel