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While some holy hip hoppers have been rapping for more than a minute, Dwight Taylor, a.k.a Transparent has only blessed the mic since 2005. But with 2 mixtapes under his belt and a debut album already in progress(L.I.F.E.-Living In Favor Everyday), Transparent has managed to make more sound waves in just 2 short years than many do in a decade.

Transparent answered God's call to craft verse for Him after penning his first gospel rap for a Thanksgiving family talent show he performed alongside his then 16 year old cousin, The Vessel for Christ. Soon after, he found himself on a holy hip hop fast track, releasing his first mixtape in 2006 and winning the American Christian Talent Search in 2007. With a second mixtape release, a two week tour in Australia, and being honored to participate in the Christian Music Awards also occurring in 2007, the year proved to be more than fruitful for this up and coming modern day Levite.

God's obvious hand in the life of Transparent can also be viewed through his founding of On Purpose Inc., a non-profit that caters to the youth of Contra Costa and Solano County near his hometown of Richmond, CA. The work with the non-profit is just an extension of his ministry on the mic, Where his dual passions for children and spreading the Word of god are crystal clear.

L.I.F.E. is scheduled for release in January of 2009. Stay connected with Transparent @ www.transparent82.com or myspace.com/transparent82 

U-Zone Article--Jan/feb/Mar 2009 issue-Curtis Jermany(Publisher)
- Curtis Jermany(U-Zone Magazine)


February 2009 was a busy month for Holy Hip Hop/Christian Rap, and there were several veteran artist droppin new releases and several new comers as well. Among those new comers breaking on the scene and releasing new projects were, L.I.F.E.Style Records recording artist Transparent, and his new project L.I.F.E. (Living In Favor Everyday)

L.I.F.E features production from Jason Bahou (Firestrong Productions), Marv (MARV4MOBBEATS) and guest appearances from the Bay Area’s own TRUCK, Jason Bahou (J.B. Blue), C.O.G., Jen & Jaquie (J.B. Blue) to name a few.

First Impression
I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was quite anxious as I unwrapped the cd from it’s packaging. I was anxious for a couple of reasons, partly because it was a debut cd, (and I have reviewed a lot of debut cd’s and some of them weren’t that good…real talk) partly because I had the opportunity to see this young man perform before once at a New Years Celebration several years ago and I had very high expectations of him, and partly because I have met and know this young man and I really didn’t want to be the one to have to say “nice try but…”.

I loaded the cd, and pressed play and my anxieties were calmed as the soulful soothing music and lyrics of the opening track, Intro invited me into the L.I.F.E. of a young man intent on chasing after God and becoming transparent so that others might see Christ through his life and actions.

from start to finish L.I.F.E., takes the listener on the “ride of their life”!

L.I.F.E. features a unique blend of Urban/soulful, hip hop worship and west coast bangers that from start to finish takes the listener on the “ride of their life”! Transparent recognizes his position as an Heir in Christ and compassionately interjects this throughout the CD, and He shares the love by extending the invitation to the listener all the while encouraging other believers and fellow heirs to do the same.

My first listen revealed some instant favorites, [Agape, Radical, P.U.S.H., H.U.S.T.L.E.] and while there were no tracks that I disliked some of them grew on me more and more with each listen.

A Closer Look
Musically, this CD knocks and to be honest it is pretty impressive for a debut project, but how does it stack up content wise, well if I had to sum it up with just two words they would be “Real Talk!” L.I.F.E, addresses issues that are often neglected from the pulpit. Issues like the Christian Walk not being an easy one, and it is a Lifestyle that requires living out [Who Knows] Issues like going through things and having to be persistent in our prayer life [P.U.S.H.] and also the issue of being open and honest about struggling with sin and growing up in Christ [Transparent] In addition to addressing issues, L.I.F.E. also speaks of the joy of experiencing God’s Love for us [Feels Good] and speaks of God’s unconditional love [Agape]

Transparent, focuses his efforts more so on being a “paramedic” trying to help and offer healing to those in need rather than merely being the “christian police” out to get sinners or those who have fallen. Layer by layer he peels back the old garments of “holier than thou” and engages in the introduction to, and forming and cultivating a relationship with Christ.

…cause I know we’ve had enough of this holier than thou stuff/ let’s start being real give the people what they need/ start being paramedics and stop being the police

Transparent - Intro, L.I.F.E.

Da Break Down
L.I.F.E. features 15 bangin tracks that are guaranteed to motivate ya and bring your speakers pretty darn close to cardiac arrest, here’s a peek at the track listing including featured artist:

Intro feat Jason of Bahou of J.B. Blue
L.I.F.E. (Livin In Favor Everyday)
New Breed
The Greatest
Agape feat C.O.G.
Passion feat Jason Bahou of J.B. Blue
Navigation
H.U.S.T.L.E. (Hurry Up Save The Lost Everywhere) feat Truck
Who Knows
Radical feat C.J. Emulous and The Vessel
Feels Good feat Jen & Jacquie of J.B. Blue
Lion Chaser
P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens) feat Jason Bahou of J.B.Blue
Transparent
P.O.M.E. (Product of My Environment)
Transparent’s personality & creativity come shining through in this cd, proving that you can be a Christian and still enjoy life, and still expose people to Christ with more than just your words but also your life. Among my instant favorites were [Agape] in which Transparent comes to appreciate and understand the awesomeness of God’s Unconditional Love for us and how many who sing about love are missing it because God is Love and Love is God. (I kept this one on repeat for a good minute)

Another instant favorite was [Radical] and urban hip hop/rock blend that presents a radical concept indeed, proposing that we make it hard for people to go to hell and easy for them to get to Heaven, letting our everyday Lifestyles be the connections. Every time I listen to this it reminds me of an old quote from a Spiritual Giant Charles Spurgeon:

If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.

Some of the tracks suck you right in from the start, for example [Who Knows] had me hoarse with a sore neck as I was head noddin and singin/yellin along

“♫you think you know you think you know you think you know…but you don’t! Unh Uh You Don’t! ♫What you know bout this lifestyle♫/somebody flipped you the bird…and all you can do is flip open your Word…♫”

Oops there I go again. L.I.F.E. stays on point from start to finish, and Transparent’s lyrical flow is such that you can keep up with him along the way. Without getting too deep He keeps it Christ centered throughout the entire CD. Here’s a brief look at some of what you will find in the way of content on L.I.F.E.

L.I.F.E: Living and walking in God’s Favor daily.

The Greatest: Nope not Muhammad Ali, the Greatest of ALL time is the Undefeated King of Kings, God Almighty!

Agape: Celebrating, realizing and acknowledging the Unconditional Agape Love of God

Navigation: The safest and best way to travel is by Letting God Guide You

H.U.S.T.L.E.: making the most of our time and moving quickly and aggressively to reach those that are lost.

Radical: Living life radically for Christ, letting our lives be the bridging connection that connects people to God

P.U.S.H.: Being persistent and consistent in our prayer lives

Transparent: A raw, open honest testimony/expose on Transparent and his failures and struggles in an attempt to stay true to His name ( a track that many Christians might find relate able)

Final Thoughts
L.I.F.E., does not beat around the bush, nor is it a watered down presentation of the Gospel, at the same time however it presents the message in a format that will bless believers and non-believers equally. Believers can listen and be encouraged to “do better,” while non-believers can hear, relate and respond to the Gospel message as Transparent opens up and shares both his victories and his failures in learning that this is a life style. All in all this is a CD worth adding to your collection, and it is one that you can benefit from listening to several times…and before you know it you just might be encouraged to get ya H.U.S.T.L.E. on

If you are interested in finding out more about Transparent L.I.F.E., L.I.F.E. Style Records or to purchase a copy of Transparent L.I.F.E. visit any of the following sites,

www.myspace.com/transparent82

Transparent82.com - Holyridaz.com


Review: Transparent - L.I.F.E.
Monday, March 30, 2009 4:45am | Posted by Elder P

Transparent: free from pretense or deceit :easily detected or seen through.

Citing this definition, some adherents to the Christian faith as well as people in general strive to possess this vital trait, especially vital to those that call on the name of Christ. Without it, it would be very difficult to be effective for the kingdom of God.

Cali native and L.I.F.E. Style Records recording artist Transparent appears on the scene with a tall order to fill with his debut album Transparent L.I.F.E. (Living In Favor Everyday)

With production from the likes of Marv4MoBeats, as well as Jason Bahou, Transparent L.I.F.E. is a unique blend of Southern and soulful West Coast influences.

Upon listening to this album, initially one might think transparent hailed from a southern state such as Texas, Florida or ATL given the beat selection, not to mention numerous phrases as well as ad-lib punches made popular by such artist such as as Young Jeezy, Webbie and DJ Khaled. Aside from that, Transparent also has a slow almost monotone flow reminiscent of Nuwine with a vintage Mase-type delivery that seems to mesh with most of the songs on the album.

The intro serves as the icing on the cake for this album. This song sets a great tone from the gate with a smooth west coast groove featuring Jason Bahou from the Bay. The intro proclaims “this is my life” laying it out for all to hear, especially those that don’t know the Lord. This song seems to serve as a monologue as well as apology to those put off by insensitive, judgmental Christians. I think the flow and tone he spits in this song work very well together and make this one of my favorites on the album.

Transparent L.I.F.E. has its fair share of southern flavored 808 heavy tracks such as “Living in Favor Everyday” and “New Breed.” All these songs are choc full of witty one-liners as well as heart felt lyrics. The only draw back to some of these songs is that Transparent’s energy level doesn’t seem to match the aggressive nature of the tracks at times.

Transparent seems to really shine on some of the more laid back songs like “Agape” featuring COG, “Hustle”(Hurry Up Save the Lost) and the southern accented “Navigation” which ranges from West Coast to R&B grooves. These are straight head-nodding bangers!

Another banger on this album is the synth & voicebox laden “Passion.” This song is a creative remix of a popular praise song that chronicles the great price Christ paid for us on the cross.
Everything is on point in this song. I don’t know what his single for this album was but this would have been a great one!

Overall Transparent L.I.F.E. is a very solid album with a lot of great songs. The things that fall short on this project are minor and are over shadowed by passionate lyrics and quality production. This album is a wise investment if you like smooth vibes and southern bang. Transparent is definitely poised to be a force in CHH. Based on this project Transparent can do nothing but excel. He has already started on a high plateau.
- Dasouth.com-Elder P


DaSouth.com is always out to bring you new and unheard of talent within Christian Hip Hop! Tre9 catches up with Richmond, Cali resident Transparent to talk about his latest project "Transparent Life" and more. Check it out!

Tre9: Whatup fam? Welcome to the world of Christian hip hop. Being that you are popping up on the scene with this new album, how long have you actually been representing Christ through hip hop?

Transparent: What's good fam! Before I answer that, I just want to say thanx for this opportunity. I don't take things like this for granted. To answer your question, I've been ministering thru hip hop since November 2005. I wrote my first Christ centered rap for a Thanksgiving family talent show and then released a mixtape titled Honest Talk in Feb 2006.

Tre9: For someone who hasn't heard your album before, how would you describe it?

Transparent: I would describe it as an "Out of the Box" type of album. "Out of the box" meaning that some of the music on the album wouldn't be typically considered Hip Hop music. Its Real, Relevant, and Radical music used to introduce and help cultivate a relationship with Jesus Christ. The album crosses all age and race boundaries...music for the Nations.


DaSouth.com is always out to bring you new and unheard of talent within Christian Hip Hop! Tre9 catches up with Richmond, Cali resident Transparent to talk about his latest project "Transparent Life" and more. Check it out!

Hear two exclusive leaks from Transparent! (opens in new window)

Tre9: Whatup fam? Welcome to the world of Christian hip hop. Being that you are popping up on the scene with this new album, how long have you actually been representing Christ through hip hop?

Transparent: What's good fam! Before I answer that, I just want to say thanx for this opportunity. I don't take things like this for granted. To answer your question, I've been ministering thru hip hop since November 2005. I wrote my first Christ centered rap for a Thanksgiving family talent show and then released a mixtape titled Honest Talk in Feb 2006.

Tre9: For someone who hasn't heard your album before, how would you describe it?

Transparent: I would describe it as an "Out of the Box" type of album. "Out of the box" meaning that some of the music on the album wouldn't be typically considered Hip Hop music. Its Real, Relevant, and Radical music used to introduce and help cultivate a relationship with Jesus Christ. The album crosses all age and race boundaries...music for the Nations.

"The Greatest" Music Video Promo

Tre9: What was the main point you wanted people to walk away with once they have heard the whole project?

Transparent: I wanted people to know that having an intimate relationship with Christ was very tangible and accessible. I wanted the non-believer to know that God is not looking for perfect people, but people striving to be like Christ. I wanted the believer to be inspired to continue to live out the characteristics of Christ.

Tre9: I heard a few songs that gave me the impression you are against being harsh in your lyrics towards non-believers, am I accurate in assuming you don't agree with being offensive or even judgmental towards secular artists in your music? Explain why?

Transparent: You're extremely accurate fam. God didn't choose me (Transparent) to be offensive or judgmental towards these artists. He chose me to be a "paramedic" and heal those who are in need of healing, not be a "police" pointing out every single wrong/sin that a person has done. Many Christian artists (rappers or not) do enough of that already, so I'm not needed in that area, lol.

Tre9: When you listen to Christian hip hop, what bothers you most & what do you appreciate the most?

ransparent: The thing that bothers me the most is exactly what I was saying earlier about being judgmental. The Christian hip hop industry is not only judgmental and offensive towards secular artists, but even towards artist who are doing what God called them to do. We need to stay in our lane. If you are the arm, be the arm! Don't get mad at someone else or judge that person because God called them to be the toe. Let me stop fam, because I can go on and on about this topic. The thing that I appreciate the most about Christian hip hop is that we are now striving for excellence in our overall presentation of the Gospel.
Tre9: Who do you look up to in the music industry, whether Christian or not? In other words, who would you love to sit down and chop it up with? Why?

Transparent: I take a lot of cues from Lecrae, especially when it comes to ministry outside of the actual music. I actually had the chance to sit down and chop it up w/ dude for over an hour at Fla.vor Fest 08...real coo' dude. He beat me up (spiritually) a lil bit, lol, but I truly appreciated it. I like T.I.'s delivery and swag as a Hip Hop artist. My spirit man doesn't agree with some of the stuff he talks about, but I can relate to the majority of it. I would love to chop it up with him and Lil Wayne (I say both of their names in my intro). It would be great to hear them share about their views on God and their relationship w/Christ (if they have one). If they don't have one, I would love to introduce them to a intimate relationship with Christ.

Tre9: What makes you different from every other Christian rap artist out there?

Transparent: Here are some facts that make me different: I was born January 23rd, 1982. I gave my life to the Lord on July 6th, 2005. I got baptized September 25th, 2005. I got married on Sept 19th, 2008. I have two beautiful boys (Dwight Jr. and Isaiah). I attempt to find the good in everything and everyone. If there is another Christian rap artist out there with these same facts, holla at me so we can collab!

Tre9: I hear a lot of rappers claiming this is their ministry, but I feel like they should be doing more than that. I know that even if I was not saved, I would be rapping, which leads me to that conclusion. So aside from the music stuff, what else do you do in service to the Lord?

Transparent: I'm the youth and young adult specialist at my church (Liberty Christian Center/Pastor Richard West). I have the privilege of teaching/preaching every Sunday at the Solano County Juvenile Hall. I have a non-profit organization that I started in 2005 called On Purpose Inc. "Every Child A Destiny, No Child An Accident". My wife, father and I founded L.I.F.E.style Ministries in 2007. Our goal in the ministry is to share Christ thru every aspect of our lives. We have a discipleship/mentorship component, as well as a food give-away component. God has recently opened the doors of many high schools for us to "do LIFE" with the students.

Tre9: If you could change one thing about hip hop in general what would it be? How about if you could change one thing in Christian hip hop, what would that be?

Transparent: I would change how vulgar the lyrics are in hip hop. I think that hip hop artists are intelligent enough to get their point across without cussin' in every other line. In regards to Christian hip hop, let's start focusing our energy on helping others rather than hindering them with our judgmental words and actions.

Tre9: Where do you see yourself in 2 years? 5 years? Still rapping or doing something else.

Transparent: In 2 years...releasing album number two! In 5 years, still doing music (If God says the same). I will still be teaching L.I.F.E. skills to all those who are willing to listen. I will also be ministering around the world with my two new co-laborers in the faith....Mr. Harris and Mr. Carter. I love speaking things into existence!!

Tre9: At the end of your music career, what do you want to be remembered as?

Transparent: I want to be remembered as someone who used the FAVOR that God granted him, to impact as many people as he could for the cause of Christ. I also want people to remember me as a helper and someone who lived up to the name that God gave me- Transparent.

Tre9: Where can people get your CD and find out more info about you?

Transparent: L.I.F.E. is available on thebus-shop.com, 3hpm3.com, digstation.com, CD BABY and my myspace www.myspace.com/transparent82. It should be on iTunes shortly. You can also find more info about me on my myspace or email me and chop it up with me personally at lifestyleministries@live.com . I love to fellowship.

Tre9: Any closing comments you would like to add to this interview?

Transparent: First, I would like to thank you again for taking time to do the interview. It means a lot to me bro. Second, I want to encourage believers to continue to walk in your HEIRship (Romans 8:16-17) and live in the favor that God has granted you 24/7, 365! Third...DaSouth.com is a BEAST! ha ha (not just because you're interviewing me right now). Lastly, since God is Love and we are HIS children, let's continue to show His love thru our actions and our words!

Tre9: Thank you so much for the time and I wish you the best! Your CD is great and will touch a lot of people; I know that I have personally enjoyed it and still jam it today.
- Dasouth.com- Tre9 2/24/09


Discography

L.I.F.E.(Living In Favor Everyday) Debut Album{Jan 27, 2009}

Singles:
L.I.F.E.
P.U.S.H.
Feels Good
Passion

Photos

Bio

Dwight Taylor Sr., a.k.a. Transparent, is an independent International gospel rapper, motivational speaker, and mentor. Recenly nominated for 6 categories at the 2009 Rejoice Gospel Music Awards, he was blessed to take home the “Best Male Gospel Hip Hop Artist(unsigned)” award and “Gospel’s Rising Star” award. Originally from Richmond, Ca, Transparent is currently residing in Fairfield, Ca. He is a Bishop O'Dowd High School and Fresno State University Alumni. Transparent graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development. In November 2005, Transparent began to follow two callings that God had placed on his life. The first, ministering the gospel through music, and the second, starting his own non-profit Christian organization called “On Purpose Inc.”, designed to cater to the youth of both Contra Costa and Solano County. While living in Richmond, he was actively involved in volunteer work at the Coronado YMCA and in 2006 he was honored with the "Volunteer of the Year" award from The West Contra Costa YMCA. Transparent held positions with Alternative Family Services as a case manager/Independent Living Skills Specialist for foster care and adoption children for 2 years. His dual passions for children and spreading the Word of God are what fuel his determination to live his life in an upright and "Transparent" way. In March 2007 he won the American Christian Talent Search and in June 2007 he participated in the Christian Music Awards (CMA). On January 27th, 2009, Transparent released his debut album "L.I.F.E."(Living In Favor Everday). He will also be returning back to Australia for what will soon be his third tour to the country. While touring he has been privilaged to minister in Melbourne and Brisbane Australia. His debut album is scheduled to be released in Australia mid-Septemember 2009, which will be followed by a two week promo tour. Transparent has ministered at approximately 150 different venues (Churches, Cruises, High Schools, Colleges, Talent shows, and Award shows). He has shared the stage with such artist as Canton Jones, Tonex, Tremaine Hawkins, Everday Process, R-Swift, Saylah, DJ Morph, Frontlynaz, CJ Emulous, R.E.I.G.N., Viktory, Mark J, and many more. Transparent has seized the awesome opportunity to minister at the Solano County Juvenile Hall every Sunday, where he speaks and ministers through music to the youth and guards. Along with speaking and music, Transparent also uses the medium of television to present the gospel. He is the Co-Host/Presenter for Fusemix T.V. During the GMA Week 2009, Transparent interviewed the following artist: Canton Jones, Michelle Bonilla, J.R., Vlada, Norman Hutchins and Cowboy Dan. Wherever you find Transparent, be it ministering through music, sharing his life on “Transparent T.V.” or just speaking into the lives of the youth he encounters, it is relevant that throughout these great accomplishments, his focus remains the same, which is to "Advance the Kingdom one second at a time".

Website Link: www.myspace.com/transparent82