There was a time when rap-rock ruled the world. Although I don’t want those days to come back, there were some pretty sweet albums made during those years that I still enjoy. I think the best of that genre/era was “The Fundamental Elements of Southtown” by P.O.D. Since P.O.D. is still around, I assume we’re all familiar with who they are and what they do. But when TFEOS came out in 1999, it shook up the Christian music scene in a huge way.
The Christian underground was coming out with lots of great heavy bands at this time. I say “heavy” because these bands weren’t metal or hardcore or rock. They were just heavy. Blindside and Project 86 were coming out with fantastic records around this time as well. But P.O.D. trumped them all in break-out success and buzz. P.O.D. succeeded on a commercial level unseen by a Christian bands since dc Talk or Jars of Clay, and for obvious reasons, P.O.D.’s road to success was much harder than those other two bands.
…Southtown had a great mix of heavy jams and tribal sort of drumming thrown in with rapping and reggae beats and Rastafarian lyrics. It was from this album that I learned about the term Jah as a shortened form of Jehovah. Lots of unique elements presented themselves all at once and forced their way into the consciousness of every Christian music fan. They even invaded the CCM world when their song “Set Your Eyes to Zion” was included on the WOW 2001 CDs.
Payable On Death’s frontman, Sonny, is still vocal in the Christian music scene as part of the Whosoevers. His lyrics were really encouraging to listeners and caused me to reflect on the majesty of Jehovah and the warrior-like aspect of the Church. Those ideas were somewhat unique in the Christian underground music scene.
This album meant a lot to me. It meant a lot to lots of people. Now I’ll shut up about it.