Tobymac is the most skilled and unique artist in the Christian music industry. He combines all of the elements of the greatest Christian musicians and bands. Rock, hip-hop, worship, gospel, jazz, funk, and nearly everything else. His third original studio album, Portable Sounds, expands his already diverse horizon.
Portable Sounds will sound familiar to fans of tobyMac’s previous CDs, with fresh elements mixed in. His fist CD, Momentum, is a loud, rock/hip-hop album. This album transitioned several years later into his second album, Diverse City. He expanded the music genres that he used in this album, adding some pop sounds and toning down the wild feeling overall, which actually broadened the sound on the record.
His third album, Portable Sounds, diversifies his style even more, adding more of a contemporary sound, along with some added gospel, while continuing with the hip-hop, rock, and funk. Really this album is a work of art. It is possibly the greatest Christian album within the last ten years. Tobymac has impacted young and old alike through his newest album. The anthem “Made to Love” can be heard accross the nation and across the world by children, teenagers, adults, and even the older crowd.
Many of the songs from Portable Sounds were used in popular sports programs, television shows, and movies. “Ignition” was used in a Nascar movie, for example, as well as on Sports Center. “Feelin’ So Fly” was used in the Disney movie Game Plan with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The album kicks off with the energetic, gospel/hip-hop song “One World”, proclaiming that we are all one big family under God.
The second album on the CD was the first single released from it: the mega-hit “Made to Love”. The song has influenced so many people. It spend weeks as the number one song in the Christian music nation, combining contemporary and pop sound with Toby’s signature hip-hop beats and style. The song is a shout to the Lord, acknowledging that we were made to love him, made just for him and to adore him. And in return, he promises to love us back.
In the third slot on the CD sits the high-energy, super-fun “Boomin”. From first listen, this was my favorite song on the album. It is hip-hop on caffeine and steroids, with rock driving it the whole way. The song contains the album’s title in the lyrics: “Portable Sounds to lift me up; Portable sounds to take me higher… so don’t even try and get in my head.”
Fourth on the album is the alt/rock “I’m For You”. It tells God that whatever we are, whatever we need to be, we will do it for God. “Whatever I gotta be, I’ll be for you.” It is easy to listen to and, like all of Toby’s music, easy to sing along with.
“No Ordinary Love” is fifth. It’s a loud, horn-driven hip-hop song mixed with a whole lot of funk and a hint of gospel as well.
“Ignition” is probably the hardest rocking song on the album. It is used to kick off their concert with a bang. The song was co-written with Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch, one of the most popular Christian rock bands, and is an amazing head-banging song that will get you dancing and singing along as well.
Finally, “Lose My Soul” finished off the album. Toby performs with Kirk Franklin and the American Idol phenom contestant Mandisa. Toby leads the way with his hip-hop and soul, while Kirk and Mandisa finish the powerhouse of a song with their gospel vocals. It is the most contemporary song on the album and has inspired many by its powerful message: “I don’t wanna gain the whole world and lose my soul”.
The songs listed above are just the hilights. Every song on the album is a work of art. Toby’s son, “TruDog”, performs a song once again, as he did in Toby’s previous albums.
Overall, Portable Sounds is an album that will never be forgotten or cease to be loved by young and old.
(tobyMac is set to release a new CD sometime in 2009! Keep an eye out for it!)