Welcome to Diverse City
Toby McKeehan (aka tobyMac) is a founding member of the celebrated Christian hip-hop/R&B group dc Talk, but has been slowly building a significant solo career for himself as well. His 2001 debut album was well received, and his sophomore effort is an impressive melting pot of hip-hop, dancehall reggae, and guitar rock. Like most such albums, it could stand to be trimmed by 15 or 20 minutes (the cutesy little kid cameo is overlong and unnecessary, for example), but at its core Welcome to Diverse City is well written, beautifully sung, and nicely produced, with a satisfying variety of styles and textures. "The Slam" is a sort of funky nu-metal (but that's meant in a good way); "Hey Now" is a swooningly hooky rock-R&B hybrid; "Fresher Than a Night at the W" is straight-up old school hip-hop. Best of all is the P-Funkified title track, which features a cameo by none other than Bootsy Collins himself. "Getaway Car" and "Phenomenon" should probably have been relegated to B-side status on a CD single, but they're not bad, just not up to the high standard set by almost every other song on this very fine album.