- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 1, 2006

Tye Tribbett & G.A.

Victory LIVE


Having burst on the gospel music scene two years ago with their debut album “Life,” Tye Tribbett and G.A. (Greater Anointing) now return with a live album, “Victory LIVE,” which promises to catapult them into the mainstream consciousness a la Kirk Franklin.

Mr. Tribbett has built a cult following on the gospel circuit on the strength of a distinctive new sound that harnesses an eclectic range of styles — R&B, hip-hop, jazz and even rock — to traditional gospel messages. Last December, about 1,200 fans packed the Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Philadelphia, braving the biting cold, to take part in the recording of “Victory LIVE.”

The album opens up with the single “Victory.” With its catchy beat and infectious hook, it might well become as big a hit as Mr. Tribbett’s 2004 smash “No Way (The G.A. Chant),” which drove the “Life” album to a peak position of 37 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.

G.A. — comprised mostly of the friends and family of the Camden, N.J., native — harmonizes beautifully with the supercharged frontman both on “Victory” and throughout the disc. Mr. Tribbett duets with his brother Thaddaeus on “No Other Choice,” an electric guitar-laden number Mr. Tribbett wrote after the death of fellow Greater Anointing member Dr. Kenneth LeVar Riddle. With its audience participation hook, the reaffirming ballad is a crowd favorite in concert.

Mr. Tribbett draws from the family well one too many times on “Seated at the Right Hand of God,” which features a tepid, albeit heartfelt, lead vocal from his sister DeMaris.

“Everything Will Be Alright,” which weds unusual lyrics to a complex structure, may initially jar those unaccustomed to Mr. Tribbett’s unorthodox sound. The song finds a groove during the reprise, to which the phenomenal Kim Burrell adds her trademark vocal improvisations.

Mr. Tribbett gets back on track with “Bless the Lord,” which revamps the gospel great Andrae Crouch’s classic with a Caribbean vibe. Another standout is “Still Have Joy,” which evokes the feeling of an old-school church service, yet stays contemporary with its vocal riffs and runs.

With his wholly new synthesis of musical genres, Mr. Tribbett is subtly and effectively spreading the word to this generation. While not perfect, “Victory LIVE” suggests that Mr. Tribbett is likely to be a fixture — both on the gospel circuit and in the wider music industry — for a long time to come.

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