Music Review: Set Apart – 6&33

One Man In The Middle brings you regular, unbiased and honest reviews of music albums and EPs from Christian artists and musicians in the UK and worldwide. Here we have Set Apart by 6&33 with an overall review score of 9.3 out of 10.

Album Information:

Modern Contemporary and CHH Gospel Artists 6&33 are New Orleans Natives now residing in Greenville, SC. The vision for 6&33 are not just numbers. Instead, the numbers are symbolized by scripture. Matthew 6:33 reads, we should seek God’s Kingdom first (in all we think and do).

This dynamic duo was formed November 2012 by rapper B. Simmons and singer Maria Ave. Although the duo started in October 2012 as an “idea”, God’s plan has expanded beyond what B. Simmons and Maria Ave’ could ever fathom. With commitment to this “idea” reality led to conducting a promotional CD (Kingdom Seekers), furthermore, calling themselves 6&33. From that moment forward, they have truly sought the Kingdom of God first. Because of obedience, this partnership has been blessed individually and collectively.

Review:

One thing that makes this duo different is that they are actually a husband and wife, B. Simmons is a rapper and Maria Ave is a singer. Both have been involved in music with aspirations to be solo performers for many years. Maria performed on B. Simmons first studio project, and he wrote the one of the first tracks she recorded. They also made a mix tape together before deciding to work together as a duo, coming up with the name 6&33.

The name plays directly into the themes of this EP so it is worth explaining. It is their guiding verse for life and their music and is one of the verses referenced in the intro to the album. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

So “Set Apart” brings some challenge to the listener from the very first intro track which is mainly spoken word and talks about the need to be “Set Apart”. Although it doesn’t, as far as I can remember, actually use the word holy, it is a call to holiness. Having said that it is quite direct and to the point, pulling out the Biblical imperative that is presented in so many places that this is something Christians are called to do, yet our society doesn’t show it. There is a huge challenge to kick off the album, but I don’t feel it’s judgemental, but an encouragement to consider your commitment and what it means in its entirety.

Scripture is put front and centre on these tracks with a number of different verses referenced directly or indirectly. “All things are possible to them that believe” is the background of “Believe” while “Jealous” quotes Jesus as he says “By this will all men know that you are my disciples…”This is great because it means that scripture is being imparted and expounded in a format that will speak to people that perhaps find a Sunday sermon hard to grasp.

Musically the production feels hugely cinematic at times. Many layers of background and then vocals laid on top which work well together. You would think that it would be a case of having very defined roles with a rapper and a singer, but I am glad that they mix this up a little as they go through with Maria at times getting in on the rap.

This isn’t all challenge, there are some fun tracks that still speak to the Truth, “LOL” is one of those tracks that just feels much lighter and warmer. The big surprise of the album is I feel the last track “You Are” which brings everything back to worship of God. This is a track that would fit quite nicely alongside many others in the worship genre. This plays well to Maria’s vocal talents as she leads this track.

It may have taken them a while to get this debut EP out to the public, but I feel that there is a great range of tracks here that will speak to people. It’s bold, it’s sometimes brash, but it has a genuine challenge, encouragement and worship all wrapped up in some great production. If you are looking for something new and fresh then it doesn’t come much fresher than this!

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