Spiritual rap artist and songwriter, Joshua Casnave, also known as TheBranch, has dropped his debut album “Servant Songs” which he says is directly inspired by every spiritual journey that preceded it. “I share a lot of personal battles in this album in the attempt to reach a vast amount of people and to help inspire that hope, power, and victory spirit that is within us all,” Joshua says. “The creation of my album “Servant Songs” is a direct command from God. Literally, He told me to “finish the album” and has guided me in doing so every step of the way,” he concludes. Straight off the cuff, on this album, you get an intense syllable-heavy style of rap that has no problem with sharing powerful messages.
TheBranch spends most of his time delivering heartfelt insight into life’s struggles and afflictions, and how we can overcome them. The rapper’s directness is often predominant and strikes a chord with its sheer potency. You’re quickly brought back into TheBranch’s psyche from the opening track “Awakened Servant”, which is a particularly powerful soundtrack, flaunting all of the artist’s technical skills.
TheBranch’s barrage of words, married with the booming, cinematic production on “Hallelujah” is surprisingly digestible. Here the rapper hits his stride with an effort as lyrically powerful and honest as ever.
TheBranch is effectively irresistible on the more melodically infused tracks with superbly executed, ear-warming hooks by Echo. The first mesmerizing assault of this kind, occurs with “On Your Own”. TheBranch’s intense verbal onslaught is perfectly juxtaposed against the gorgeously captivating hook.
“Trust God with your life, it will be okay. Open up your heart and let him lead the way,” exclaims TheBranch on “God Wit Me”. It is the prelude to another poignant feature by Echo, on “No I Won’t”, which showcases some more sharp wordplay and original rhyme schemes from TheBranch. But the best is yet to come on the lyrical momentum of “Show the World” propelled by the rapped verbiage of both TheBranch and Echo.
The flows are copious and clear; never mumbling. TheBranch and Echo play around the instrumentation, experimenting confidently with the tempo and rampancy of the rhymes for compelling and wholehearted performances. “What Would Jesus Do” finds TheBranch riding the rhymes and Echo bringing the mellifluous splendor on this soulful track, which radiates with heartfelt enlightenment.
“The Watchman” highlights a more a raw and gravelly delivery from TheBranch. He really pours his emotions into every one of his lines in every one of his verses and you can really tell that here. The beat is stripped to banging 808’s, and the cadence in his delivery of the lyrics is perfect.
The album closes with “Praise God”, featuring another lyrical and technical onslaught. The song should uplift and connect with a generation struggling with solitude, depression, anxiety, and a whole lot more.
All throughout, “Servant Songs” is gut-wrenching, tightly produced, cohesive, and deeply relatable; brimming with captivating flows and undeniable talent. As far as lyrically dense, spiritually inspired hip hop goes, this album is about as good as you’re going to get this year!