Album Review: 5th Child “Love Letters & Suicide Notes” @5thChildMusic

5thchild Jackson, Mississippi has a surprising legacy of an alternate view of what Southern rap could be, from the Stewpot Stowawayz to Wild Life Society, to Us From Dirt, to Crooked Lettaz, and finally to Skipp Coon. So in that regard, the emergence of a new Jackson hip-hop artist like 5th Child is not quite as surprising as it would be elsewhere in the south. First coming to my attention around the same time that Morning Bell Records appeared in Jackson, 5th Child has been a frequent performer there, and elsewhere in Jackson’s ultra-hip Fondren neighborhood, often appearing with a live band. His latest effort, Love Letters & Suicide Notes combines religious faith, a righteous anger at injustice and a healthy dose of funk and soul. The opening “A Word of Advice” sounds like misguided advice that 5th has probably heard over and over again from well-meaning “experts” in his hometown, but it is immediately followed by the title track, which is remarkably upbeat in its call to “Turn the lights up” and dispel the darkness. Most of the remaining tracks, such as “Inspiration” and “Circles” feature 5th’s seemingly-effortless flow over beds of luscious soul, with “Outta Town Girls” providing a moment of lighter romance. But the hardest hitting song is “Black Hoodie”, a tribute to Trayvon Martin, the Black Florida teenager who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer while wearing a black hoodie. The song opens with a clip from Geraldo Rivera’s stupid television comments that the hoodie was responsible for Martin’s death, and presents a grim reminder that any Black youth could easily become Trayvon Martin. Altogether, Love Letters & Suicide Notes was a welcome introduction to the music of 5th Child, who likely will remain an important voice in Southern hip-hop. Like him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/5th-Child/153655217998666, or follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/5thchildMusic. You can also visit him on Bandcamp at http://5thchildmusic.bandcamp.com/ or buy this album on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/love-letters-suicide-notes/id559793203

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