Reach Records veteran Tedashii is back with his first full-length release in five years with the 17-track Never Fold, drawing inspiration from the biblical passage found in Luke 9: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and turns back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” The last time we had a full-length from T-Dot, he served up a masterpiece in Below Paradise in 2014, making Never Fold a long time coming.
Never Fold starts with a soft/slow intro track (There’s a Heaven). Immediately a melody comes in. The vocals in the song are a bit distorted, singing “There’s a heaven for us, there’s a heaven for me.” Tedashii is opening his heart up on the track, and the album is beginning from a tender spot.
This is followed by God Flex, a straight-up banging track that is a perfect start to this album. There is so much going on in this instrumental it baffles me how it all works together. Daramola comes in at the top, matching the hype of the soundscape. Tedashii gets into a pause-heavy flow that employs numerous ad-libs and actually relies on these ad-libs for glue throughout. The track carries some amazing production and fire-spitting by both T-Dot and Trip Lee in a song focusing on how big God is. The Texas native says it best, “It’s about a time in my life when it felt like I wanted to give up. But the sun came out and it made everything new. God flexed in my moment and he can flex in your moment.” The theme of never giving up, finding joy, and being strong at all times is ever present both in this song and throughout the entire album.
Watch God Flex here:
Get Out Of My Way comes next and features another Reach labelmate, Lecrae, and the two combine for their best joint effort since Dum Dum. Lecrae gets gritty with the vocals and digs in for a very solid performance in verse one. But as far as lyrical content goes, it seems like more of the same stuff from ‘crae. “You don’t know about the fast life/ I got scars from my last fight/ Ice water in my bloodstream from some old things in my past life.”
Listen to Get Out of My Way here:
The features don’t stop there on Never Fold. As the album continues, you will hear the likes of Crowder, 1K Phew, and Jerry Manna – among many others – making for a complete hip hop album.
In Son Of Sam, (drawn from the recent Andy Mineo song) the rapper hits on the back and forth struggle of trusting God at times, particularly when he remembers losing his son. The beat here is simple but it’s strong. The layers that add and subtract throughout are subtle but enhance the performance in ways another similar beat would not. Tedashii is coming at the beat with his heart, sharing about his identity, his doubts, his struggles with depression, and a hardened heart. The track is open, raw, and heartfelt.
The follow-up to his lament is Home, as the rapper cries out to God and just wants to be home again. The handoff from that last track to a track like this one is perfect. David Crowder croons a Chorus at first, setting the tone for the overall mood and the concept that will be dealt with.
“Looking for the shade where the trees are dead/ Trying to find my way to the peace inside/ Until I’m, until I’m home.”
Other standout tracks are:
- Splash 2, a sequel to the equally awesome track from last year with 1K Phew. Tedashii heard that flow and was like “challenge accepted” and proceeded to absolutely bust up the track, handing off to 1k Phew to lace the hook. Jarry Manna bats clean up and it’s a wrap. Nevermind, the energy is back.
- Hold Me Down carries flaming beats and good spitting. This is old school Tedashii here. He’s spittin’ heavy on this one. The instrumental employs numerous samples and as it progresses it does a spectacular job with the changing of textures that are needed for the different sections of the song.
- Full Effect is guaranteed to be played at your next house party. The samples on this are dope. Ok, actually this beat actually hits. I dig the laid back charisma from T-dot paired with the rapid-paced rhyming on the verses.
- All in Love has me reminiscing about some wonderful 90’s R&B. This song is tight. The haunting bass line and synths are captivating straight away. Kam Parker lends his vocals for the R&B vibe you need on a love song like this.
Each track, while unique, is great and worthy to be added to your playlist for this year. While Never Fold is one of the better rap albums I have heard in a while, it isn’t perfect, but the focus of becoming stronger during hard times and trusting God even when your past has given you nothing to hold onto gives rap fans no reason to not play this over and over.
The CHH veteran expressed it well when defining the album’s purpose when he said “Never Fold is a reminder to never back down,” and I completely agree with him. Be sure to check out Never Fold, and catch Tedashii on the “Unashamed Tour.” It looks like a great start for Reach in 2019.