Theory Hazit was my original favorite MC in Christian Hip Hop (CHH). His album Thr3e was the first album I would put up against any hip hop album, mainstream or underground.
The first time I listened to this album, was a revelation. In 2012, Theory was part of a CHH label, Humble Beast. At the time, they were the premiere CHH label with amazing mc’s and creative production. They weren’t looking to make mainstream hip hop but were more west coast and underground hip hop. At the time, they were considered the opposite to Lecrae and Reach Records’ more mainstream production and style sensibilities.
As someone who appreciates a more classic hip hop sound, Theory Hazit and Humble Beast were EXACTLY what I was looking for. I found this album on their website where they would put their albums up for download for FREE! I remember being shocked that they had full albums for download absolutely free.
What made Thr3e so good was that it was some of the best production out, period. Dert’s amazing production just shines. I can’t overstate how much I loved the production. Since focusing on music that honored the Lord, this was the first time I TRULY found production that I loved and was of similar quality as what I loved in mainstream hip hop. With Dert’s amazing production and Theory’s great lyricism and flow, the album is classic to me. This album was the album I’d put on when I’d be with my friends or family that were also into hip hop. I’d love seeing them start enjoying the music, then asking who it was. Telling them it was Theory and it’s christian hip hop, was just great. Most of them never knew christian hip hop could be this good!
I’ve stated this album is one of my favorites. These are some highlights to the album that is full of highlights.
As the intro to the album, it’s a perfect primer of what’s to come. The first thing that jumps out is the production. There are multiple beats within the track as well. The samples are perfectly selected and placed; just classic hip hop production. He sets up the theme of the number three with his flow and through the samples. Just a great track and intro.
Ol Derty Hazit
The drum beat, bass lines, and sample are just… Derty! In Theory’s ode to the wu-tang clan member, Dert brings a dirty beat and adds a great sample of the mc along with lyrics and flow that are more aggressive than most of the rest of the album. The beat change in the second half of the track is just one of the best on the album. Keeping a similar bass line as the first half, Dert adds new samples and sounds to create a new energy. This is one of the two best tracks on the album.
This is another concept track. The concept is that Theory is rapping from the perspective of a recently born crack baby. I have never heard before, or since, of a similar concept. The track is interspersed with narration about what happens to baby’s who’s mothers took drugs. The production is simple and also has samples from the sounds of crack babies going through withdrawals. It’s a heartbreaking track, where theory raps the different things that crack babies go through. While disturbing and heartbreaking, it is also super creative and shows some of the best of Theory as an artist.
Jo Jo Dancer
When I heard this track for the first time, I rejoiced. THIS was what I was looking for… pure hip hop production, lyrics, and flow, that honored the Lord! I really can’t overstate how much I loved this track when I first heard it. I listened to it all the time. To honor the Lord with such creative workmanship in hip hop was EVERYTHING I was looking for. The classic boom-bap production, great lyricism with a flow over the beat that most mainstream hip hop didn’t even do anymore. This is the best track on the album. When I would play something for doubters, this is the track I’d play, especially if they were fans of classic hip hop. I remember vividly having to drive around my cousin and a hip hop artist’s brother and playing this. Both people took note of this track.
This is a purely instrumental track. Violins, drum beats, and a distorted piano… just perfection. I’d put this instrumental up against any hip hop instrumental.
Doomsday Insurance, For Lack of a Better Word, Find Me
As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of this album, but also what this album stood/stands for. You can make GREAT hip hop music and honor the Lord. Theory Hazit would go on to have a lot of difficulties in his life that I can empathize with, but this album stands as a classic in CHH for me. I can’t recommend this album highly enough, ESPECIALLY if you like classic 90’s style hip hop.
You can find this on all the major streaming platforms.
I think I’m going to take a detour and highlight some of the best albums from Humble Beast that shaped me and blessed me when I first made music for the Lord a priority. We’ll see where the Lord leads tomorrow.
Hope you’ll continue this journey down musical memory lane with me. Lord willing, I’ll see y’all tomorrow.