by Carlin Doyle
So it Ends.
So It Ends concludes an album trilogy for Christian Hip Hop artist S.O., which began with his free release of So It Begins back in 2011.
But this is by no means his final project. The London-based rapper, short for Seun Otukpe, has further cemented himself as a solid Christian MC who is unashamed of Jesus.
The Lamp Mode recording artist has built a reputation for emotional transparency in his lyrics, as he reflects on some painful struggles from his personal life. His goal is to help people facing the same things, describing his music as “music that comforts those in affliction, that brings joy to people, that encourages the heart, that encourages the soul.”
Yet this hope is hard won after much struggle, and after many dark nights of the soul.
This is clear from the get-go track So It Ends. Over a beautifully-sampled classical piece, S.O. painfully confesses his grief after separating from his fiancé and having their engagement to be married cancelled. He mourns losing her, and having their relationship break down, and since this is one of the main issues that occupies his thoughts, it occupies a lot of his penmanship throughout the album. Ending an engagement is a particular kind of grief that I think may not be common, but must be heartbreaking; just reflecting on it made me feel deeply for S.O.’s struggle.
But this isn’t all – S.O. still grieves over his father passing away, and wrestles with frequent bouts of depression and feelings of loneliness. While this may just accompany this particular season for him, it is still a very hard struggle. In Me feat. J. Williams, He shares some raw doubts he wrestles with while fighting for hope, “I stand justified, just if I’d never sinned, but we’re going back and forth…I’m tired of the mind games, I should know by now if I’m saved…” But through fighting his doubt, “I rest in the Son…cos it’s not about me”.
Instrumentally, the album is electronic yet sombre. But it is not always sad; throughout the journey, he also rejoices and celebrates. On tracks like Right Here, Right Now and The Crew, he celebrates with gratitude for the platform he has to represent Christ, and the brothers and sisters he has around him to do it with.
One thing I love about S.O. is his reckless pursuit of Jesus. Despite aiming for an introspective focus in his music, he is not afraid to recognise that the answer doesn’t lie in himself. He continually proclaims Jesus as the only source of true hope.
This is seen most clearly and beautifully at the end of the album on Satisfy feat. Adenike. After S.O. draws back into his grief over losing his fiancé and wrestling through loneliness and insecurity, he understands in a deeper way that “only Christ can truly satisfy”, and never a relationship. He admits that he has made mistakes, and he is by no means past these struggles now. But he is learning more deeply that Christ is gracious, and finding rest in him is joy and peace to the soul.
S.O.’s lyricism is solid, yet as a drawback, the instrumentation was at times a weaker point on the album. While it was of course of a high quality in production, it was slightly predictable in its hip-hop instrumentation. An example of this was Right Here, Right Now. S.O. took a sample from the original version of the classic dance track and modified it, and lyrically it was a great encouragement to represent Christ. But, it is quite repetitive instrumentally. While tracks like So It Ends were strong points instrumentally, others fell into the same trap.
The Verdict: So it Ends is full of sad and sobering reflections on life, but it ends with a beautiful hope that only Christ can truly satisfy our souls. 3.25/5
So it Ends by S.O. is available now on iTunes.