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Stephen the Levite / Press

“The Levite has always been one of my favorite artists to listen to. I enjoy hearing him experiment with new ways to spit truth. There is plenty of that to be had in The Last Missionary. The opening track “The First Missionary” is a dizzying display of lyrical mastery that sets the tone. “Reign and Rebellion” has some of the most creative internal rhyme schemes I’ve ever heard in hip hop. And “Beauty & The Beast” is a clever metaphorical flip of a classic story. Stephen the Levite should be held in high regard for always pushing the lyrical envelope.”

“The first quarter of this year has already been saturated with some incredible hip-hop with new releases from Trip Lee, Swoope, and Json, just to name a few. These artists have already set the bar really high for anyone else releasing music this year. Nevertheless, I knew I could count on Lamp Mode Recordings artist Stephen the Levite to come out with something that was not only topnotch lyrically and content-wise but also stylistically different than the roster of already extremely good hip-hop albums that have released this year. And he does not disappoint. The Last Missionary is Stephen the Levite’s second full-length solo project and it is a full-blown, unapologetically, back-packer, underground hip-hop album. It is packed full of soulful samples, scratching between verses, and masterfully-crafted lyricism. There is not even one song with a hook being sung, with the exception of Wes Pendleton offering backup vocals on “S.O.S.” as Stephen leads the chorus....”

“A solid foundation is key to building strength and, as time moves forward and our cultural landscape changes, this foundation will help to maintain the roots of longevity. The Last Missionary, the latest release from Darrell Bell (better known as Stephen the Levite), is evidence that building on a strong foundation rooted deep in the old school hip-hop culture makes for a long and solid rap career. It’s been a hair longer than half a decade since the world has heard from one half of rap group Redeemed Thought. Stephen the Levite’s focus on exceptional quality and remaining true to a hip-hop culture—which seems to have disappeared under the garb of auto-tuned vocal transformation and pop sounds—has proved beneficial throughout his sophomore solo album...”

“...Here he steps into the forefront of currently working hip-hop artists -- holy or secular -- with a well-polished, intelligent, challenging and edifying record that keeps your head nodding incessantly, both to the beat and in agreement. Not only that, but he has gone the extra mile and successfully crafted a true album, with a unified theme and message, and one that is vitally important for the world today: the Church is Christ's physical representation on Earth and the means for extending God's Grace to the world and establishing his kingdom, so it's incumbent upon us to repeat the act of Grace shown at the cross, and be salt and light to a world in need of redemption. Or, to quote Stephen one final time: "If you’re a Christian then you’re a member of / His physical witnesses sent to finish His mission up / Paul would call us His body with many limbs and functions / workin’ and servin’ till He returns in the endin’ but / Give it up! / until His Kingdom comes and the missio”

“It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from one half of the Redeemed Thought crew who goes by the name Stephen the Levite. After his debut release …To Die is Gain in 2006 he almost completely fell off the radar, minus a feature here & there. That didn’t mean that fans weren’t clamoring for him to drop more heat. After a four year hiatus he teased us with a little project called The Forerunner EP, with the promise of more raps to come. After it seemed like that long awaited album would never come, here comes the Levite with his sophomore LP titled The Last Missionary. ...For someone who has seemingly been off the radar for a while, Stephen the Levite doesn’t display any rust. His lyricism and delivery are just as sharp as they’ve always been. As an unashamed backpack rapper, Stephen serves both the underground & east coast hip-hop well. This album delivers the kind of stuff that made many of us fall in love with hip-hop so long ago. His time away from the music scene has se”

“The Lamp Mode recording artist has always been counter-cultural and “Temptation” is no exception. Over sweeping strings and a gritty drum loop, Stephen doesn’t discuss the temptation he sees, but the temptation he thinks. The veteran dismantles his self-conscious pressures to please the masses when he only has to please God. He touches on “the Southern sound” that seems to pervade the market and force underground emcees to abandon their musical identity. But Stephen goes even deeper than that in analyzing how lofty theological talk can often mask spiritual weakness.”

“The most impressive thing about Stephen the Levite isn’t his beard, though that is rather Levitical. It’s not his rap prowess, though I was greatly encouraged and edified by the brother’s show. The most impressive thing about Stephen the Levite is his clear love for “Mrs. Levite” and little “Stephen the Levite, Jr.” At the Legacy, I had the honor of meeting and sharing a lunch with them. They’re one of those families at the conference that filled me with so much joy, just watching them serve and worship together as a family. Hey, and don’t sleep on your church’s next fish fry. That’s where “the Levites” met; doing that priestly duty of multiplying the loaves and the snapper while reaching out with the gospel. But anyway, let me encourage you all to take a listen to some of Stephen’s work. He posts his lyrics at his blog. At The Legacy he did some new stuff from his upcoming work, The Forerunner and one joint with 100 straight bars of rhyme. I don’t kno”