Five Star Generals
Hostyle Gospel Ministries (2010)
There are worship warriors who stomp on the devil’s head, and then there’s Hostyle Gospel.
This holy hip hop group from Champaign, Illinois does more than stomp. On their mixtape, Five Star Generals, the trio unpacks an entire arsenal of anti-devil weaponry. They break demons’ necks, drive stakes into them and even toss their ol’ sorry evil selves into trash cans and roll them.
Hostyle Gospel also stomps, though, because they spit that they have stepped on so many demons they have “holes in their shoes.”
Of course the language on Five Star Generals is metaphorical, but there’s no denying the group’s tough-talking, no-holds-barred stance. These guys aren’t playing around. They have fashioned themselves into spiritual superheroes declaring all-out street war on the demons who have encircled and imprisoned Christians. These guys have God’s back, and visa versa.
The mixtape starts strong, with Hostyle Gospel articulating its mission, though I would have preferred the introduction play longer, because just as it grabs your attention, the audio fades. On the other hand, it fades into “The Boss,” an audio kaleidoscope of samples, sounds and rapid-fire rhyming. Had the entire mixtape maintained the energy and creativity of the first two tracks, it would have been a gospel rap masterpiece.
Five Star Generals eventually transitions into a more conventional vibe, though not necessarily a plain vanilla sound. “The Slave and the Master” is a bold portrayal of redemption, and “Dream On” samples Aerosmith’s 1973 classic for a rap about the group’s evangelistic “dream team”: “like Michael, Magic and Larry on the same team.”
Five Star Generals is well produced and engineered. Listen to or download the mixtape at:
Four of Five Stars
Picks: “The Boss,” “Dream On.”