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Various Artists

16 Bars (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Review by Gary Hill

This soundtrack album was created by Speech of Arrested Development. It features him collaborating with a number of prisoners who were doing time when this was recorded. The institution where the participants were recorded features a recording studio as part of its facility, and they made good use of that in creating this album. While much of this lands under hip hop, there are some country and folk tunes, too. This is quite an interesting set that has some poignant lyrical messages.

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Track by Track Review
Speech's Intro - Speech
This is a spoken thing along with some children singing and talking.
Inspire - Teddy Kane (feat. Positive Impact Choir)
I love the bass sound on this thing. The rap is classy. The musical arrangement on this gets some cool keyboard textures later. The children's choir brings something special when it joins further down the road.
Lost One - Teddy Kane
I dig the electronic groove on this, but I don't think the rap works as well. The music does have a bit of a space element that is cool. The lyrics are important and potent, though.
Where My Daddy At? - Teddy Kane
This has a strong rap and some interesting music. It's classy.
Speech's Interlude #1 - Speech
Here we get a spoken section.
Recidivism - Anthony Johnston (feat. Speech)
I really love this song. It has some particularly powerful moments lyrically, rhythmically and musically. This is possibly my favorite tune here.
Broken Chains - Devonte James (feat. Speech)
This is another highlight. The cut has a great musical and vocal arrangement. There are some killer changes built into it. The message is particular potent, too.
Speech's Interlude #2 -Speech
This spoken section about the magic of recording is cool.
Lay My Burden Down - Garland Carr (feat. The REAL Program Chorus)
There is a gospel groove to this as it gets underway. This makes me think of the old spirituals the slaves would sing while working in the fields. Of course, that was the birthplace of so much of what became the bedrock on which most modern music is built. That gospel chorale arrangement is the full concept of this strong piece.
Freedom Wind - Garland Carr
I dig the guitar folk music concept of this track. It's more of a mainstream rock tune with sung vocals. It's another standout, and the arrangement really feels out on this thing.
Steam Train Salvation - Garland Carr
This tune is absolutely country music. It's an effective piece, but not one of my favorites.
Two Stamps - Garland Carr
A balladic tune, this is built on both folk and country musical concepts.
Speech's Outro - Speech

The spoken vocal on this is powerful, and the piano that dances in the background does a great job of accenting it.

Trauma (Bonus) - Arrested Development (feat. Daunta)
Another classy hip hop tune is the concept here. This is another potent piece of music.
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