When DC Talk first emerged in 1989 with their self-titled debut, they stood out from among the rest of CCM’s rap artists by blending rock and soul. But by the time their third album, Free At Last was released in the Fall of 1992, they had made the jump to light speed from “not bad for a Christian rap group” to “Holy cow!”
Free At Last, more than any other Christian album of the early 90s, aside from Amy Grant’s crossover Heart In Motion, stands equal to and maybe even better than its secular counterparts.
The power, the pop, the catchy melodies, smooth rhythms, high energy and sensational production from Mark Heimermann, Joe Hogue and Toby McKeehan (aka TobyMac) is what still today, gives this effort its wow factor. It was this album that catapulted the group to super-stardom.
Sure, it’s the band’s follow-up, Jesus Freak, that most reviewers would look back on and write about with nostalgia and awe, and which catapulted the band even further, but it’s this one that stood out as the band’s first foray into artistic greatness and marked them as top-notch entertainers (yes, I called a Christian group entertainers).
This album spoke with a combination of intentionality and naturality. It was genuine and free. It seemed effortless, yet you could tell that a lot of time and effort did go into making this record, and the result was an excellence unmatched, in my opinion, by them or anyone else over the course of the rest of the decade.