Album Review: Coptic Soldier - Their Sound, Our Wings (2011 Mixtape)

Earlier this year, Luke Girgis AKA Coptic Soldier gave us one of the more interesting Australian Hip-Hop releases of 2011 with The Sound of Wings 2, an acoustic take on his debut LP which turned more than a few heads and received much critical acclaim. Now that he has the attention he needs, Girgis has decided to release a free five-track mixtape entitled Their Sound, Our Wings.

While cover songs aren’t exactly the concept of this short collection, Girgis has added his own spin to already-established tracks by the likes of Kate Nash, Drake, and P.O.S.

The opening track remains the collection’s finest moment; as Girgis does his thing over Kate Nash’s “Dickhead” and turns it into a re-creation of the iconic hymn “Amazing Grace.” Luke fills the track with social commentary and a cover of the famous chorus, all coming together to make for a great song and something he can be proud of.

Next up is “On Edge” featuring fellow emcee Koolta. The track takes from P.O.S’s innovative “Optimist” and has Girgis looking back on his career so far. Both emcees deliver impressive verses and flow impeccably over the creative beat. While the bars are no problem, the hook aims to be a bit too dramatic and falls flat – however, it detracts very little from this ambitious number.

Lupe Fiasco’s brilliant “Words I Never Said” is given a make-over on track 3, with Girgis attempting to tackle a cover on his own. While the hook suffers from the same problem as “On Edge” Luke expresses himself clearly with interesting observations, doing the concept of the original track a great justice while shedding light on some largely-ignored social injustices.

“BRB” features label-mate Willow from Mind over Matter and takes from Drake’s haunting “Paris Morton Music.” Luke attempts to stay true to the theme of the original, rhyming about a complicated relationship and even provides his own bridge, which in a way provides a welcome addition to the original. As far as rapping goes, Willow outshines Coptic here, turning up the pace of the song and contrasting quite nicely with Luke’s slower-style of rapping.

Boy & Bear’s brilliant “Lordy May” is a perfect fit for Coptic Soldier and ends the mixtape on a very positive note. The hard thing about doing a version of such a stellar song is the expected backlash one would get if their addition isn’t appreciated. Luckily, Girgis doesn’t over-step any boundaries here, he humbly provides input here and there to actually improve over the original song.

While this Christmas offering from Coptic Soldier may pale in comparison to his excellent acoustic EP, it is far from a failure and serves to further endear Coptic Soldier to the Australian music scene.

Many of Coptic’s criticisms stem from the fact that proponents of so-called ‘real hip-hop’ naively confuse a Christian rapper with an expressive rapper who is Christian (Coptic is the latter in case you were wondering – far from preachy Christian rap. Besides, I don’t hear anyone calling Mos Def ‘Islamic Rap’), this collection of cover-esque tracks should attract the attention of more open-minded music fans.

Review Score: 7/10

Their Sound, Our Wings is available for download, free, from December 24th at:

Check out the clip for "Amazing Grace" at: