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Misled Youth - Click to view!Chris Greenwood warns his listeners to "Prepare yourself for something different" before launching into a minute long freestyle. "Freestylin'" introduces us to Manafest (aka Chris Greenwood), the skateboarding rapper from Toronto ready to bless the masses with his ministry-oriented hip-hop. While Toronto is known for its innovative and progressive hip-hop, we have yet to see anything like Greenwood. He might seem like just another young suburban skateboarder, but he's here to take the streets for Christ with his first project Misled Youth.

Manafest's effort is admirable on this EP that doesn't even add up to fifteen minutes. Along with the intro, there are four songs that get us acquainted with Greenwood's aggressive yet surprisingly softhearted style. In "What's Goin' On," Manafest chastises the irresponsibility of teenagers who abuse drugs, sex and alcohol. "Sessions" speaks of the Canadian's love for skateboarding and his profession of faith in the afterlife. The album switches gears as Misled Youth moves into rapcore mode with "Freedom." Finally, the EP ends with an quiet, introspective track called "Soul Searching."

This project will turn some heads. Manafest is a great live performer (as a part of Toronto's Under One King) and Misled Youth shows his potential as a big name artist, but there are many flaws that make this disc one to skip over. While the album title appears to offer a theme for the disc, the songs simply blend into one another speaking harshly against obvious sins or claiming a belief in Christ. There is no distinction between songs. Greenwood's lyricism is unoriginal and does not measure up to the well-crafted tracks. The rock-rap song "Freedom" is very intense and aggressive, but seems to quite obviously draw from influences such as Rage Against The Machine, P.O.D. and Thousand Foot Krutch. "Sessions" has an outstanding beat but is cut very short on an album that needs substance. The best song by far, "What's Goin' On," has its problems as well. It seems to be picking on quite common issues and harping on them for four minutes.

As a whole, this record needs work. Individually, the beats are very nice and each track could and should appear on your next mixtape. Canadian hip-hop heads and beat junkies alike should buy this album. But everyone else should wait and pray for improvement on the next full-length project.
- Jon Corbin
July 2002
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