The Maker & III (A Drill Tape)
GTG Entertainment (2022)
By Robert M. Marovich
Nigerian-born and UK-raised Victor Atuonwu is a producer and rapper known as TKE3. The Maker & III is his first release since 2020’s EP Amen.
The sixteen-minute drill tape is a chill electronic mélange of rhymes that ruminate on the life-giving riches of salvation and modern-day discipleship. For example, “Good for Me Right?” positions TKE3 as a prayer warrior who pledges fidelity to God. On the relaxed “Alelu,” TKE3 lofts praises upward amidst crisp flourishes of gently-plucked guitar. The guitar, the praises, and the warrior imagery are also present on “Living Streams.” A background choir materializes in the closing moments of “Breakthru.” I wish they had had more time to sing, as their presence adds a rare dimension to Christian hip hop.
One selection that stands out is “In Christ.” Featuring Akavelli and Tomi Abdon, the cut shuffles to the polyrhythms of TKE3’s native Nigeria. Dwelling in Christ after a life teetering on the brink is the theme of this track and, in many ways, the entire project.
TKE3 spends less time on dramatic narrative and clever metaphors and more on simple verses of worship and praise. The liquid soundscapes and melodic uniformity make the six tracks seem like pieces of one long motive. The set would have been even better had there been more personal context behind the praise, but TKE3 packs a lot into what is there.
Three of Five Stars
Pick: “In Christ”