Commentary

June 6, 2014

Fly Over: ‘Below Paradise’ by Tedashii’, and ‘Kill Bill: Volume 1′

Grace Lee and Timothy Boyer

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Available on iTunes or www.reachrecords.com:

Below Paradise by Tedashii

A protégé of Grammy-winning rapper Lecrae, gospel rap giant Tedashii released his newest album, “Below Paradise,” on May 27. The album deals with an array of life’s problems from a refreshing perspective that is lacking in not only most music today, but in society as a whole.
Tedashii brings his lyrical artistry to the forefront as he raps at speeds reminiscent of Twista with the positivity of a Kirk Franklin concert. As always, Tedashii’s newest album, a product of Reach Records, has the highest production quality and is pleasing to the ear of hip hop fans.
For those who have been into Christian hip hop for a while, it may be difficult to get over the stereotype set by the “corny Christian rap” of the early ‘90s such as DC Talk. But I assure you, the messages and quality in “Below Paradise” are not corny and reach beyond just Christians to speak to the struggles of Americans today.
Topics such as finding one’s identity, overcoming the pains of the past, and finding peace with bad decisions bring the shared pain of humanity to the front and address them in the only way Tedashii has found success – through faith in Jesus.
This album has a very clear and unapologetic purpose, so if listening to someone talk about his faith in God is offensive to you, this album is not one to pick up. If, on the other hand, you are someone who is simply tired of the nonsense played on the radio nowadays, this offers the beats and quality of music you desire with a positive message.
Regardless of whether you choose to accept Tedashii’s faith or not, the message of telling the truth, facing the reality of your hurts, and honoring your spouse, to name a few, are messages I believe Americans need to hear right now.
I highly recommend giving the song “Paradise” a listen, especially for those who are married. It is a rap about how much Tedashii loves his spouse. It is refreshing to hear someone speak so positively about his wife. The attitude of appreciation for his “better half” is contagious and always brings me to a point of appreciation for who God gave me.
Tedashii’s hard-hitting beats and straight-forward lyrics are complemented by an array of guests who add depth to the album. Guest artists such as Britt Nicole, Kam Parker, Andy Mineo, David Crowder and Grammy-winner Lecrae mix it up with an added diversity of styles.
As a dad, there’s nothing better than finding a CD to bump in my minivan that I don’t have to worry about the messages it teaches my daughters. Rather than learning what a lot of today’s music teaches – that women are objects for men’s pleasure – my daughters learn from Tedashii that they are to be cherished as daughters of God, and they do not need to find their value in a man because they are already valuable. Perhaps this is only something a dad can understand, but I appreciate it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with the newest album from Tedashii, as it seemed he could not outdo his previous albums, but after giving a full listen to “Below Paradise,” I found he’s done it again.
If you are looking for something a little more positive to listen to in the hip hop scene, “Below Paradise” by Tedashii is a must.

 
FLYOVER-Kill-Bill-Movie-poster

On DVD:

‘Kill Bill: Volume 1′

I’m not the type to watch films with a lot of violence and bloodshed, but I remember enjoying the film titled “Kill Bill: Volume 1” as a young teenager. Since it had been more than ten years since watching the movie, I decided to re-watch it to see if the film still had the same effect on me.
For those who don’t know, “Kill Bill” is an action/thriller film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It was originally slated to be released as a single movie but with a run time of more than four hours, it was separated into two movies.
“Kill Bill” begins with an ex-assassin, codenamed Black Mamba (Uma Thurman), also known as “The Bride,” lying on the ground after nearly being beaten to death by members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squadron including their leader, Bill (David Carradine).
Mamba, who is also pregnant, tells Bill the baby is his, and just as she finishes, he shoots her in the head. The group presumes Mamba is dead and leaves the chapel with no survivors. As police officers investigate the crime scene, they notice Mamba moving slightly and discover she is alive.
Although alive, Mamba falls into a deep coma for four years. When the Deadly Vipers found out Mamba is alive, they send assassin Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) to give her a lethal injection, but before doing so, Bill calls it off. They agree on taking action on Mamba only if she wakes up from her coma.
Years pass by before a mosquito bites Mamba awakening her. She gasps for air and is disturbed to learn she is not pregnant. She tries to make sense of the last seconds before Bill shot her.
Her first target is O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), a former Deadly Viper assassin, who is now the leader of a Tokyo yakuza, a feared gang in Japan. Before going after Ishii, Mamba makes a stop in Okinawa to attain a sword from renowned swordsmith Hattori Hanzō (Sonny Chiba). Mamba finds Hanzō, who now runs a restaurant working as a sushi chef, and makes small talk before telling him why she is really there. The conversation shifts and Hanzō has Mamba follow him to the place where the last of the swords are kept.
After holding one of the swords, Mamba asks to take one and Hanzō refuses, at least until she mentions who she is seeking to kill. Hanzō agrees to not only provide her a sword but create one made specifically for her agenda — to kill Bill.
“Kill Bill” is and will always be a top favorite of mine. Although it is full of bloodshed, I find myself constantly cheering for Mamba at each stage of her journey to eventually kill Bill. There are times when one would think all hope is lost but she finds a way through it. I also love the incorporation of anime throughout the film, which came together in perfect harmony with the movie.
Thurman was perfect for playing the role of Mamba, a cold, ruthless killer turned nurturing mother. It wasn’t as cheesy as I would’ve presumed it to be being an American-made Kung Fu movie. You can’t forget the great villain, Ishii, who Liu plays naturally with a quiet demeanor but shows the villain’s scary side with action. The question is whether Mamba successfully executes her plan to kill Bill or does she fall under the swords of those ahead of him. You’ll have to watch the film to find out.
“Kill Bill” is rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexual content.




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