Ced Wynez – Blood On The Church Steps – EP Review
Mr. Ced Wynez! Homie! It has been a minute or two!
Time & perspective has treated this emcee extraordinarily well. It was roughly like…what…three-plus years since we last heard from Wynez, when we reviewed his album The Rebellion, back at the end of 2014. It’s always awesome to hear the difference that time in between records can make; I remember being impressed with what I’d heard from CW in the past…but I’m not crazy…this is even better right? I know it’s been a while, but I’ll be damned if Blood On The Church Steps doesn’t sound like this emcee’s best work to-date.
Largely – it’s the sharp focus being applied, the attention to detail, and the straight-up FACT that this is a rapper with something to SAY…these are the ingredients that form the core of this EP & lead it to success. Somewhat, this is all to be expected from Ced Wynez…dude puts together a quality rhyme & finds wicked beats to work with that are all produced to the nines, and he’s building upon a lot of the themes & ideas he’s built into his own signature style. We were introduced to Ced’s beef with the man upstairs on The Rebellion – and just as the title of this record would imply, he’s certainly not shying away from his perspective on religion throughout the five cuts on the new Blood On The Church Steps EP. If anything, CW sounds bolder and more confident in his quest than ever before – I’d honestly be kind of shocked if there was a moment on this record that didn’t come out exactly as he was hoping it would. He’s brilliantly confident on the mic, has a genuine point of view, and the beats on this EP are LARGE AF – what else could you possibly want?
Right from the DROP, Ced Wynez comes out swinging with the raw & the real, delivering insightful opinions that many share, but most are unafraid to take a stand & talk about it. That’s where this emcee comes in harder than hard – he’s ain’t softening his perspective for the masses – he’s here to spit his truth, whether you agree with it or not. As many of you know, religion & music are just about one of my favorite topics to dig into; I’m not religious myself, I just find it completely fascinating that people are & how much time is spent consumed by thoughts of the next life when we got the one we have to live right now. What sets CW apart from the rest of the emcees out there, is that you rarely hear an artist that is so willing to offer the perspective of the other-side – and that’s IMPORTANT to do. If you can come out of listening to “Atheist” as this EP begins and somehow finish this song without learning something, I’d be surprised. To me – this record details the realities of religion…the hard truths of the behind-the-scenes of it all…exposed brilliantly through the rhythmic flow of Ced Wynez and his wise words. As far as an opening cut & first impression is concerned? PLEASE homies – this song alone is all the audible proof you need that it is indeed, fucking fantastic to have this emcee back on his grind, at the mic, and in the studio where he belongs – “Atheist” is completely killer. That first kick-in to the main groove in the music is MASSIVE…you can hear how perfectly paced-out & metered the flow of these thoughts are – Ced is expressing his ideas & perspective better than ever before, in a way that almost can’t help but connect to those that listen. And honestly? I hope the people DO listen. Like I said, no matter how much you might think you know about the reality of religion and what it can do to shape the culture of the world behind the scenes in the most devious of ways through the setup in the system – by the end of “Atheist,” you should come out feeling like a scholar on the subject. Not only are the rhymes completely focused and on-point – the spoken word that takes over the latter half of this song contains some of the most insightful & accurate points of the entire message. Not to get too technical, but the more technical it got into the nitty gritty of the financial aspect of how the money in church is designed to flow out of the Black communities and into the White ones – the more interested I became…because this is as gritty, grim, real, and HONEST as it gets. Ced Wynez is calling out the church on “Atheist” – and THIS is the message that they SHOULD be receiving…because if they did, they’d recognize that everything should all be a hell of a lot different than it is if they really wanted to make things better for us all. But they don’t…that’s the point – and Ced pulls no punches in this lyrical fact-based beatdown.
“Lose My Mind (Suicide Message)” is likely one of the most personally-insightful cuts that you’ll hear this year. Ced digs deep here – one of his best assets is how damn real he keeps his lyrics and he flexes that muscle with intense strength on this second cut. Unafraid to self-examine, Wynez reflects objectively on his own struggles in life, observes thoughts on mental depression and tough personal experiences – coming to the conclusion that suicide is verifiable option. That in-turn, opens up a whole other can of worms, and he’ll spring off that concept into the religious judgment passed on suicide and how that ends up landing you in the eternal burning jail cell or whatever it’s supposed to be downstairs with the devil. But again, what remains completely impressive, are the words & imagery he’s chosen to express these thoughts…he’s done it all so exceptionally well throughout the Blood On The Church Steps EP that you’ve got no choice but to listen to his perspective and deem it valid based on all the evidence he presents on a lyrical-level. He’s put strong hooks into this one for the chorus…they work & I ain’t complaining…but overall, it’s the lyrical aspect & thought provoking nature of his words that really hit home for me on “Lose My Mind (Suicide Message)” – he’s as vulnerable as he is powerful on this cut.
Twisting the knife even further, the sharp, pointed & direct way that Ced Wynez has with words packs in just as much truth & knowledge as it does straight-up entertainment. Stoked on how this EP has come out for him – this is a focused effort deserving of some serious props for its overall tightness from the beats to the words. “No More Truth” takes aim at a more universal target – us. Maybe not ALL of us – but you’ll certainly recognize that it applies to a heck of a lot of people out there…those people that want to live in their bubbles & safe spaces in an attempt to block out the reality surrounding them. A life filled with “No More Truth” of any kind…as if that would somehow improve the quality of the experience by being blind to the realities of what’s really going down out there on the streets & in our communities. Lyrically, this entire record has been incredibly sound from the moment that Ced started to spit…but I gotta admit, I might argue that he’s raised the stakes even further on this middle cut from the EP. It’s a backhanded call to wake the fuck UP and realize that a whole lot of us out there have been sleeping on LIFE itself & what’s real. Ced makes more valid points and insightful observations than you can count on “No More Truth” – another exceptional cut on a record stocked full of’em.
Wiser Observer comes in to lend an assist on the mic, taking on the opening bars on “Pain” in the first of two guest appearances on the record over its final two tracks. As the song title implies, this track digs into…well…”Pain” – of all kinds…not like, the physical stuff, but the mental stuff that weighs on us daily. The hidden “Pain” that many of us experience internally, brought fearlessly to the surface here by Ced Wynez and Wiser Observer – and people are going to appreciate the way that these two emcees have hit these bars with such honesty & leadership. You see…that’s the magic at work here…the REALNESS of it all…both these emcees rap expertly from their own perspective and neither of them are afraid to admit to the “Pain” that they experience personally, or that we all collectively experience as a society. What gives this track the extra edge perhaps over the rest, is that the uplifting & hopeful aspect of the lyricism is much more direct on “Pain” – and by sheer default, people will hear the messages more clearly. I’d argue that’s a purposeful decision made by the man in charge though…I think Ced Wynez has no problem whatsoever doling out the tough love and trusting you to hear the wisdom in his words, but there’s nothing wrong with occasionally spelling it out as plain as day to make sure the message connects. On “Pain,” Ced takes time to end this cut on inspiring words that are heartfelt & sincere, showing another side of this emcee that has always existed in the subtext, shining a light on the admirable intentions that Wynez is truly built on. Make no mistake – this entire record is designed to make us better as people if we’re really listening between the lines…but I think that there’s a whole lot of people out there that’ll really appreciate the time Ced takes at the end to give a bit of added comfort and reassurance. You know…just in case you misread the man and thought he didn’t care – he does. Again, I’d argue that if you’re REALLY listening…you’ll know he actually cares about everyone quite a lot. Loved the added saxophone in the mix of this beat and both emcees deliver the perfect energy & vibe to suit the vibe & flow of “Pain” – it’s a solid mix of chilled-intensity, valid points, & personal observations that universally apply to many of us out there. For some people – hearing these words will go far beyond the experience of just listening to another song out there in the world…this is an important message that hopefully finds a few sets of ears out there at the exact time they need to hear it most.
Somehow, someway, this EP continues to get even better right at the end, raising the stakes one final time on “Kill Jesus” featuring the reliable talents of Yooda on the mic. The beat on this cut is killer – and once again, you can hear the true intentions of Ced Wynez come roaring through the messages delivered in the words…he’s tired of watching people being taken advantage of and lied to by religion & he’s willing to take a firm stand against that imposed societal injustice. If you listen close – you’ll hear he’s not opposed to the positivity in the message, he’s opposed to the mechanics and delivery system for that message and the distortion that comes with it. “I know that God is in me” is just about one of the most incredible lines I’ve heard this year when considering the context of this entire record before it – that’s the powerful conclusion that this EP needed to highlight its overall messages even more. Ced wants you to find God if that’s what you wanna do – but to recognize that the institutions that provide the traditional teachings of religion are brutally corrupt and have literally fuck-zero to do with your own personal relationship with the man upstairs. “Kill Jesus” was a massively brilliant way to end this entire experience – Yooda brings added character & attitude to the mic that makes a noticeable impact. He might have somehow inspired Ced to bring out some of his own best bars…because this final performance on “Kill Jesus” is definitely one of the most memorable from this talented emcee.
Quite honestly – this is entertaining AF and exceptionally insightful. Not only does it show that Ced Wynez has taken the time to make sure every single thing we hear came out flawless – but the sharp points of his lyricism and messages are more direct, loaded with insight & knowledge, and straight-up more necessary than ever before. Who would I recommend this record to? Everyone. Everyone out there should hear this record. Blood On The Church Steps is a master-class on how to keep it completely real in ways that sincerely resonate.
Find out more about Ced Wynez at his official page at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iamcedwynez/
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