By Mark Chappelle Coston March 3, 2010 3:05 pm


Could Seek First The Kingdom be the outfit that picks up where Cross Movement left off? This band is the latest group I’ve discovered courtesy of Gerard Bonner’s Bonnerfide Radio show. While reminiscent of a new incarnation of The Roots, SFK has a refreshing vibe that crosses hip-hop, ministry, and musicianship to great effect on their new mixtape The Upper Room.

Sometimes their sound is vintage and lo-fi. Sometimes it’s progressive and edgy. They grab you like the sound of some neighborhood musicians destined for greatness who, every time you pass by them practicing in their garage, you must stop for a moment and listen to.

The group is making a smart play offering Upper Room for free download on their website. You say FREE MUSIC and it’s like shooting a flare into the air. It definitely got my attention. However, the great thing about Upper Room is that, surprisingly, it’s music that I would gladly pay money for. Here, SFK presents 9 tracks of well-crafted hip-hop that pulls more of its strength from passion for Christ and real music than swag and typical posturing wordplay.

The set opens with “Selftitled” which appropriately details why one should follow Matthew 6 and seek the kingdom first. And if you’re into this sort of thing the way I am, you get an extra kick out of the self-referential title when you hear the hook.

“I Can Do Anything” positions itself as an uplifting inspirational track without having a single Velveeta moment (cheesy and overprocessed). You have to love a record where you can’t tell if it’s a well chosen 50’s jazz sample or a well-recorded horn section arranged and tailored specifically for the song.

Let Go” is a relaxing, warm midtempo number with a thumpy bassline. It’s not unlike A Tribe Called Quest’s “Stressed Out” or any of their other Dilla-kissed unduely slept-on hits. The San Diego, CA natives continue in a neo-soul vein and take advantage of local talent by inviting Tonéx (and his alter ego T. Bizzy) to contribute to the funky, disjointed “Dance.”

The star player on this set is the celebratory “Liberty City.” Brassy rap verses are sandwiched between a homespun horn section worth throwing your fist in the air, and a gritty funk bassline that could light up a sidewalk. It’s an undeniable feel good track.

I have no idea where Seek First The Kingdom came from, but I’m just glad they came. I hope they come back and visit us with an official release soon. Download The Upper Room Mixtape for free today!

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