From the category archives:



A Best Live Show Nominee in the 2005-2011 Awards

tobyMac tobyMac - Diverse City Band - Nirva Dorsaint-Ready tobyMac - Diverse City Band - GabeReal
tobyMac - Diverse City Band - Shonlock tobyMac - Diverse City Band - Dave 'D-Dub' Wyatt
tobyMac - Diverse City Band - DJ Maj tobyMac - Diverse City Band - 'Toddiefunk'
tobyMac - Diverse City Band - Tim Rosenau and toby
tobyMac and the Diverse City Band

(Photo Credits: Ember & SwanWhite)

Live Show Rating: 5 & 1/2 Stars. 5 & 1/2 Stars


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A Best First Release Nominee in the 2005 Awards

The perfect intro, “Get This Party Started” kicks off Momentum with the heavy music and part-spoken, part-sung vocals heard throughout this album.

“What’s Goin’ Down”, building on the musical heaviness, lyrically deals with very heavy subject matter, especially in the latter half of the song (as mentioned in the Content Advisory).

“Irene” begins with Spanish guitar, then picks up into a great, rhythmic tune. Its lyrics have a message of hope after mistakes.

Next, a segue called “toby’s Mac” consists of a computer-voice trying to rap!

“J Train” (featuring Kirk Franklin) has very rhythmic music, done in a style that makes you want to move around to it. It’s a great track.

“Do You Know” is a little slower yet still rhythmic, with lyrics directed from toby to his son, to himself, and to you.

“Tru-Dog” is a cute track done by tobyMac’s son Truett.

“Momentum” brings back the rock, while the lyrics firmly declare toby’s (and many others’) mission.

“Yours” then dives right into awesome, heavy music and powerful lyrics.

“The Quiet Storm” is an intro to the following track, “Wonderin’ Why”. This track, with slower, beat-driven music, has lyrics done in a slightly humorous mock-interview style.

“Somebody’s Watching” is lyrically somewhat of a continuation of the previous track, while the music picks up slightly.

“Triple Skinny” is another segue, again featuring the computer voice, this time ordering a ridiculously complex drink at a coffee shop.

“Love Is In The House” is a slightly lighter, rhythmic track with lyrics that make you smile.

“Extreme Days” is the heaviest song on the disc— fast, hard, and with action-style lyrics, it’s an excellent track.

“Don’t Bring Me Down” is technically another segue, this time an actual (albeit muted) song by tobyMac.

The last full song of the album, “In The Air” is a great, catchy, rhythmic Rock track that makes you smile.

And finally “Afterward”, one final segue, is basically a short “Do You Know” reprise.

In all, this is a great first solo record from tobyMac.

Our rating for Momentum: 5 & 1/4 Stars. 5 & 1/4 Stars

“What’s Goin’ Down” describes an awful event in its second verse.

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Momentum Re:Mix

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As with some of our other remix reviews, we’ll grade each remixed track as either Great, Good, Fair, or Doesn’t-Make-Sense.

The remixers of “J Train (Math Remix)” added some new verse and chorus bits of their own, and the new music consists of electronic, rapid-spaced synths and beats. Once you’re used to it, it’s Good.

“Yours (Savage Remix)” begins muted, then features beat-driven, DJ-type music underneath (instead of Hard Rock). This is actually a Great remix.

“Somebody’s Watching (Painter Remix)” is similar to the original, but with much more pronounced beats and jazzy background guitar fills. This one is Good-to-Great.

“Irene (Marvin Remix)” falls somewhere between Fair and Doesn’t-Make-Sense. The new Spanish guitar tune doesn’t really fit during the verses. However, after the song is a segue, which acts as a hilarious intro to the following track.

“TruDog (Savage Remix)” is again cute.

“Love Is In The House (NW Remix)” has new verses done by tobyMac himself, and more full music. In fact, except for the chorus and an occasional bridge, it’s almost a new song! It’s definitely Great.

“Get This Party Started (Ghost Remix)” is another Great one. Its new music is beat-driven and jazzy.

“Extreme Days (Shoc Remix)” uses beats instead of Hard Rock. It’s Fair.

“Momentum (Beatmart Remix)” again uses beats instead of Hard Rock; it’s bare in comparison to the original, and is also Fair.

“Do You Know (Mcanany Remix)” features beats and synthesized orchestrals, and it even has a jazzy saxophone at the end. This one is Great.

“J Train (Linney Brothers + DJ Maj Remix)” is another Great remix, with a heavy beat, a mixed-up chorus, and new additions from the remixers.

The new music of “Yours (Linney Remix)” contains more Rock and beats than the other “Yours” remix, and it’s also Great.

“Irene (The Binary Twin Remix)” is better than the other remixed “Irene”. This one is mixed-up in a DJ style, with deep synths and beats underneath; and it actually makes you want to move along with it. It’s Great.

Last up is “Love Is In The House (Muckala Remix)”, which is a bare, beat-driven remix, and features a playful guitar during the last bridge and outro. It’s Good.

In total, this is a great remix CD.

Our rating for Momentum Re:Mix (Remix): 5 Stars. 5 Stars


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Welcome To Diverse City

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A Best Second Release Nominee in the 2005 Awards


Great opener “Hey Now” (featuring Coffee from GRITS) contains rhythmic, jazzy Rock and intro-type-lyrics.

Next, “Catchafire (Whoopsi-Daisy)” (featuring Papa San and M.O.C.) is one of the all-time best tobyMac tracks, and it’s amazing how much of the song and its production was done by Solomon “Soul Glow Activatur” Olds of Family Force 5. And to anyone who knows FF5’s music, it’s easy to tell, because of “Catchafire”‘s specific sound and especially the strong urge it gives you to move around to the beat. In short, it was a perfect collaboration; and this awesome track is sure to get stuck in your mind (and your music player).

“The Slam” (featuring T-Bone) keeps up the energy— it’s a totally rocking track with a good style combo.

“Poetically Correct” is a segue, rapped by M.O.C. and programmed by Soli Olds.

“Atmosphere” is a song of hope, with a bit lighter, rhythmic music.

“Gone” is a Rock song that encourages women to dump bad relationships, and then get true, good ones. It also firmly tells men to give women proper respect.

“TruDog: The Return” is another cute track done by tobyMac’s son.

“Diverse City” is an excellent, catchy, rhythmic Rock track.

The lyrics of “Stories (Down To The Bottom)” (featuring Superchick), as you might expect from such a combo, deal with struggles and pain and yet offer hope through it.

“Getaway Car” has quite jazzy, medium-paced, feel-good music. It’s a good jam.

“Burn For You” (featuring Josiah Bell) has a slowly-building intro beginning on the previous track. It’s a catchy, rhythmic, low Rock song.

“Fresher Than A Night At The W” is technically a segue; it features a great, short rap from tobyMac with lyrics that make you smile.

“Ill-M-I” has a great and very heavy beat, and it’s a very catchy track all-around.

“Phenomenon” (co-written with Paul Meany of MuteMath) is another great Rock track with a good writing and style combination. Afterwards, there is a segue— toby listening to absolutely hilarious messages on his phone— which leads right into the next track.

“Gotta Go” features more phone calls, taken while multitasking. It’s a rhythmic, lighthearted track about trying to work through busyness and stress.

Finally, there is the bonus track “Atmosphere [Remix]” (featuring dcTalk)— which is actually slightly better than the original version!

In all, this is an excellent album, and we recommend it.

Our rating for Welcome To Diverse City: 5 & 1/2 Stars. 5 & 1/2 Stars


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Renovating Diverse City

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Here we will again grade each remixed track as either Great, Good, Fair, or Doesn’t-Make-Sense.

“Getaway Car (Jazzadelic Freemix)” is (as you’d expect from the title ) even more jazzy than the original, and it’s Good.

The new music in “The Slam (d Dubb Remix)” is rock/piano (instead of heavy rock), and it’s Great.

“Diverse City (Club-a-dub Remix)” contains mostly background beats and synths, but the new tune in the chorus is a bit odd. This one is Fair-to-Doesn’t-Make-Sense.

“Burn For You (Shortwave Radio Mix)”, however, is not only Great, it’s actually slightly better than the original!

“Hey Now (d Dubb Remix)” is another even-more-jazzy remix, and includes some new lyrical adds from both the remixer and tobyMac’s son. It’s Good.

“Phenomenon (Blanco e chegro Mix)” (featuring Tricia Brock of Superchick) has more (and faster) rhythm than the original, and it’s Great.

“Gone (Long Gone Remix)” has almost funny music at first— muted piano, drums, and orchestrals. It’s okay once you’re used to it, but overall it’s a Fair-to-Doesn’t-Make-Sense track.

“inTRUding Again” is actually a brand-new track (the first of two), and as you probably guessed, it’s another cute rap by toby’s son.

“Catchafire (White Rabbit Mix)” opens with an epic-sounding trumpet intro, morphs into beat-driven verses, and then features a return of the trumpets during the chorus. There’s even some good guitarwork in the bridge afterward. This one is Good.

“Ill-M-I (Dutch Mix)” uses slow, serious, dark music, with rock at the end. It’s Great.

“Atmosphere (Ambiente Mix)” has a slightly Spanish flavor, and the remixers’ added chorus is in another language! It’s Fair-to-Good.

“West Coast Kid” (featuring Paul Wright) is the second brand-new track, and its lyrics make you smile. Its music is rhythmic and smooth, and it has perfectly layered back-and-forth vocals, as well. This is a Great new track.

Finally, the last track “Burn For You (Cat Paw Remix)” unfortunately Doesn’t-Make-Sense; in fact, it’s just plain strange. However, to make up for it there is a great Hidden Track afterward, with tobyMac listening to some more hilarious phone messages.

Our rating for Renovating Diverse City (Remix): 4 & 3/4 Stars. 4 & 3/4 Stars


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Portable SoundsPortable Sounds Limited Deluxe Edition

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BEST THIRD RELEASE 2007 Award Winner!
tobyMac's 'Portable Sounds' - Best Third Release Award Winner

Runners-Up: NONE.
Honorable Mentions: Falling Up (Captiva), Kevin Max (The Blood).


Portable Sounds kicks off with “One World” (featuring Siti Monroe), a great, feel-good opener. tobyMac is back and in fine form on this third release, as this song easily shows.

Next up is “Made To Love”, an excellent, rhythmic, medium Rock track.

“Boomin'” is another excellent track, this one full Rock. There is also a hilarious, short mock-opera segue afterwards, performed by Mandisa.

“I’m For You” is an uplifting Rock track with equally uplifting lyrics.

“Face Of The Earth” is a slower, softer track, with an easygoing Pop/Rock chorus. Its lyrics describe true friendship and what it means, among other things. There is another humorous segue afterwards.

The slowdown doesn’t last for long — the next track “No Ordinary Love” is a great, groovy, head-bobbing-beat track that features bandmember Nirva Dorsaint-Ready in a much more up-front role.

“Ignition” is easily the best track on the album, and one of tobyMac’s best tracks to date. It features quite loud and heavy Rock. It was co-written by (and contains some guitars from) Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch, and it definitely shows that influence. It’s a perfect collaboration. [Note: This track was actually featured in Superbowl XLIII on February 1st, 2009 as the two football teams entered the field!]

“Hype Man (truDog ’07)” is yet another track from tobyMac’s son Truett, a.k.a. truDog. Under the mentorship of his talented Dad, truDog has gotten better and better each appearance. This track is just great, and there is some absolutely hilarious interaction between them, too!

“Suddenly” musically rides the loud edge of Pop/Rock / Rock, and has a hopeful lyrical message.

“All In (Letting Go)” is a bit slower, but still good; it even gets a little rhythmic in the final bridge. There is yet another humorous segue at the end , serving as a perfect intro to the following track.

“Feelin’ So Fly” picks up the pace with a definite old-school dance feel, but massively updated and upgraded into an excellent, classy, rockingly danceable track.

“No Signal” (technically a segue) is a sweet and funny short song about missing family while on the road.

And the last track is “Lose My Soul” (featuring Kirk Franklin and Mandisa), which is rhythmic, medium-paced, and has a good parting message. There is also one last segue afterward, called “Afterparty”, which is basically a short “Lose My Soul” reprise.

Limited Deluxe Edition Bonus DVD:

The Limited Deluxe Edition comes with a DVD (cleverly titled Portable Sights ), which contains the following bonus material.

“A Producer’s View Of Portable Sounds“: This is a very good short interview/commentary with tobyMac and the other producer about the concept of (and the making of) the record, among other things.

“Introducing Diverse City”: This is an excellent, quite funny (especially near the end), and very insightful feature letting you inside the Diverse City Band. It contains both impromptu group clips while eating lunch and single-interview clips in a studio that include the telling of hilarious road stories about auditions, live shows, and etc., and also some great explanations of the amazing variety, diversity, and feeling of family in the band.

A two-part “Behind-The-Scenes at the Boomin’ Video Shoot” is, well, a behind-the-scenes of that video shoot , including chats with its producers and even some of the extras.

And also included are all 5 of tobyMac’s music videos to date.


In all, this is a great album, and worthy of Best Third Release.

Our rating for Portable Sounds: 5 & 1/3 Stars. 5 & 1/3 Stars


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Alive And Transported (Live CD/DVD)


CD Content:

The Alive And Transported CD contains the audio from a tobyMac live show in Houston, Texas during his Portable Sounds Tour, including the special live additions and improvisations (the CD, however, does have a little less than 3 minutes cut from the audio, probably for space reasons). Of course, while the CD is good, to get the real effect of his show you need to actually see it— which brings us to that all-important second disc…

DVD Content:

The DVD contains the full-length video of the said concert, along with a bonus feature; it really is the reason to buy Alive And Transported.

The concert film is uncut (except for perhaps a portion of the “One More Song!”-chanting wait between the main part of the show and the encore ); very professionally done; and— since tobyMac’s live show already rates a full 5 & 1/2 Stars, and the film is the next best thing to being there— it’s excellent.

The DVD also has a bonus “Behind The Scenes” feature, containing excellent behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, and thoughts plus hilarious goofing-off clips afterward.


In short, if you’ve never yet been to a tobyMac show or you just want to relive it over again, or even if you’d just like a great inside look at toby and the band, this release is for you.

Our rating for Alive And Transported: 5 & 1/2 Stars. 5 & 1/2 Stars


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TonightTonight Deluxe Edition

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BEST FOURTH RELEASE 2010 Award Winner!
tobyMac's 'Tonight' - Best Fourth Release Award Winner

Runners-Up: House Of Heroes (Suburba), Lecrae (Rehab), DJ Andy Hunter (Collide EP). Honorable Mention: Sarah Kelly (Midnight Sun).


Well, we’ll admit, it was an extremely close race for Best Fourth Release this year— in fact, it was so close between tobyMac and House Of Heroes that we very nearly gave them a tie! In the end, however, this album just edged ahead.

Tonight kicks off with its fast-paced, rhythmically rocking title track (featuring John Cooper of Skillet), which is great and quite memorable.

“Get Back Up” comes next, an upbeat Pop/Rock / Rock track with hopeful lyrics.

“Funky Jesus Music” (featuring Beckah Shae and Siti Monroe)— as you might guess from the title — is musically Funk-influenced Electronic Rock. It’s very catchy and makes you want to move, creating another great track.

“City On Our Knees” is an atmospheric ballad that is excellent both musically and lyrically.

“Showstopper” bounces back to catchy rock. This track is easily visualized in their live set.

“Changed Forever” (featuring Nirva Ready), with its Electronic heavy Rock, is another excellent and very catchy track. (Indeed, though the whole album is great, of course— hence its rating — this is quite possibly the best track of the disc.)

“Hold On” is an Electronic Pop/Rock / Rock ballad that sounds poised to take over the radio charts (but not in a bad way ).

“Loud’n’clear (TruDog 10)” is the traditional track from toby’s son Truett. At first, it actually sounds as if it’s going to be serious (the kid certainly has talent)… but then, of course, it turns laugh-out-loud hilarious.

“Hey Devil” is a very fast-paced, Funk-flavored Electronic Rock track that is again quite catchy.

“Wonderin'” (featuring Matthew Thiessen of Relient K) drops down to an accented medium pace, and it’s an interesting collaboration that actually sounds pretty much like what you’d expect (with a song of this tempo).

“Captured” picks the pace back up again with some great and intriguing melody combinations; and it kicks into an excellent, heavy-rocking section before the last bridge, too.

“Start Somewhere” is a very rhythmic (and, again, very catchy) track that musically combines the Rock with some Spanish and Ska, and lyrically asks for forgiveness from someone he had an argument with. It’s yet another excellent track.

Finally, “Break Open The Sky” (featuring Israel Houghton and Ayiesha Woods) is another one of toby’s great collaborations. This one is island-influenced and has a memorable chorus.

There is also a Hidden Track— a hilarious parody of Easy Listening AC (using lyrics from “Funky Jesus Music”).

Deluxe Edition CD Bonus Content:

“Captured (KP Remix)” has music consisting of beats and keyboards with a bit of orchestration near the end, and it’s great— even equal to the original.

“Hold On (Telemitry Remix)” is completely Electronic and more beat-driven. This one is also quite good.

“Tonight (New Day Remix)” is now slower, and the new music doesn’t necessarily mesh at all times, but it’s still fairly good (especially when it turns a bit spacey during the chorus and end bridge). The Hidden Track is moved to the end of this song for the Deluxe Edition.

Deluxe Edition DVD Bonus Content:

“Making Of The Album” is a great 12-minute making-of (including interviews with the producers, one of whom is hilarious ).

“From Studio To Stage” is just over 6 minutes long and it shows the process toby and the band use to choose and adapt their songs to their live shows.

“Behind The Songs Of Tonight” is a 10-minute feature delving into the backstory of some of the album’s tracks.

And finally, “Gospel Music Channel’s Faith & Fame: tobyMac” is a 46-minute-long biography on toby from his early childhood, to life in dcTalk, all the way through his third solo album Portable Sounds.


In all, this is an excellent album, and definitely worthy of Best Fourth Release.

Our rating for Tonight: 5 & 1/2 Stars. 5 & 1/2 Stars


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