Sam Purpose is back with an album full or tracks to encourage us as we go through the midst of challenging trials. We are greeted with the saying “PITMOA” by Sam Purpose over a self-produced melancholy instrumental. Before we can even ask what it means, he defines it for us. PITMOA is an acronym for Persist In The Midst Of Adversity. The way Sam delivers the definition, I thought it was going to be a spoken word intro, but it becomes a brief monologue. Right after that, Purpose hits us with a slow flow as he raps about overcoming obstacles. He delivers the final lines of the intro, “Shaky but I trust the narrow path that leads me to life/May be time for me to let go of the fear and fight!” The way he says “fight” has some bite to it. Only a minute into this album and Sam has already defined the title and given us the premise for the entire project. I can only wonder what Sam Purpose has in store for us.
As soon as the intro finishes, we are swept up into the next song “Fight Fear,” produced by both Sam Purpose and Tip Beats. Sam followed up those last lines of the intro talking about letting go of fear and fighting and gives us a song about fighting fear. I see what you did there, Sam. The song sounds anthemic in nature with a guitar lick in the background over steady drums. I like the pockets that Sam slips in and out of on the first verse. I like the bar, “Some think that ministry promotes the bigotry,” because a lot of folks really got things twisted out here. I appreciate Sam speaking on that. We head into the hook where Sam chants that we fight fear and we are never scared. I like the way he says “fear,” that North Carolina accent can be useful when rapping. At first, I thought he was going to rhyme “fair” with “fear,” and it wouldn’t have sounded off because of how he pronounces the word “fear.” On the second verse, we find Purpose spitting about laying our lives down for Jesus and not finding security in things like our jobs and salaries. Then, out of nowhere, Sam picks up the pace and starts double time rapping halfway through this verse! He gets into an intricate rhyme scheme,” hardest hardships/heart’s sick/ hardest and harvest” that I really enjoyed. This is a great way to start the ‘PITMOA’ experience.
The next song on the project is “No Deficit,” and I remember hearing this last year. Purpose released this as a single in June of last year. Who knew that Sam was giving us breadcrumbs to ‘PITMOA’ so early? I remember enjoying this song when I first heard it, and a year later, nothing has changed. Sam teams up with Vessel Piece on the Tip Beats produced track. The keys give you an ominous feeling that something is about to happen, you just don't know what. Purpose hits us in the face with this hook as he rap sings with autotune laced vocals about how there is “No Deficit” for those who are in Christ Jesus. My favorite part of the hook is the “We can’t lose” portion, as it drives home the theme of the song. Sam is really skating on this beat, hitting us with double time flow right out the gate. Sam has really been leveling up his flow and his penmanship. I like how he starts off the first verse, “Born with the dub since day one.” He also hits some crazy cadences to switch up the flow while still keeping up with the double time rap. Then the featured artist, Vessel Piece, followed up with his verse. He had a nice flow and his bar, “God still drawing men like a strip club” made me chuckle, because clubs do have an effect on men. I like the overall theme and message of this song and Vessel Piece stood out but didn’t steal the show from Sam Purpose. I hope to hear some more from Vessel Piece on this project.
We go from the high energy of the two previous songs to the somber sound and feel of “From Zero,” produced by YJO. Sam starts things off with a pre-chorus and then transitions into the main hook, both parts drenched in autotune as he warns the listener to turn from the ego and “Come back up from zero.” I like that phrasing, it’s an interesting way to tell someone to get back up or to rise from the ashes. Although he’s using autotune on this song, it seems like he’s using it in a different way. Sam is using a lower tone of voice to where it almost sounds like a growl when he’s rapping, think of Tedashii’s “Can’t Get With You,” and I believe this helps give this song a different feel from the previous songs. Just as the listener begins to get used to Sam’s delivery, he switches it up and goes to his normal voice and the autotune drops for a few bars before weaving back to the pre-chorus and chorus. Although the switch up was brief, it was jarring, and I think that is what Sam’s purpose was. Once the last verse is done, the haunting beat from YJO goes on for a few seconds, further driving home the feel of the song.
Purpose hits us with another YJO banger and starts off the song with a chant, “Overcome the Fear, Overcome the Fear.” The premise of this song is that Sam is leaping over fear like Miles Morales leaps over buildings and how Miles overcame his own doubts, fears, and insecurities to become the hero he was meant to be. He has some clever lines like, “I need a peace of mind clearer than sobriety/so I seek the Kingdom first to fight the war inside of me.” He makes good use of slant rhymes with lines like, “I’m a vessel from God with a gift but I’m kind of flawed/..deep inside my heart feeling like a fraud.” Purpose comes back after the hook with yet another solid double time verse. Once he hits this pocket of “Courage on ten,” he hits a different cadence while still going double time. So far on the project, Sam has shown his diversity and continues to switch things up.
We hit an interesting part of ‘PITMOA’ with “Never Shaken.” The beat immediately grabs me, but more than that, this mug sounds familiar! This sounds very similar to “Son of Man” from Tedashii’s 2019 album ‘Never Fold.’ When I checked the credits for the song, Derek Minor helped produce that song. Not saying Derek or Sam did anything wrong, it’s just interesting how things like this happen in the music business. Sam does his thing on this track, skating all over this beat as he raps about not being shaken by the current circumstances in his life. So far this is one of the standout tracks on the project to me. It was my favorite until I realized I had heard this beat three years prior.
After being shaken up from “Never Shaken,” Sam calms us down with the YJO produced “The Cost,” featuring Trizzy Tre and Vessel Piece. The keys and melodies on this beat make me think this song will be more introspective. On this song, Sam Purpose talks about the cost associated with being a follower of Jesus Christ. He acknowledges that this road can be tedious and that “Losing yourself for the sake of love can be rough,” but in the end, the prize outweighs the cost. I liked the flows and rhyme patterns that Sam weaves in and out of. Sam has been giving us great verses the whole project through, and this one is no exception. Next, we have the song “Put Down the Mask” featuring Marquise. This song is produced by the man himself, Sam Purpose. In this song, Sam is encouraging the listener to put down their metaphorical mask and be who God created them to be. Sometimes, Christians put on a facade and act like everything is okay, when in reality, their world is falling apart, and they are hanging on by a thread. For some reason, Christians think we have to be perfect to be godly, and that’s not the case at all. I like the message but I’m not a fan of this beat because it reminds of the music you hear when companies put you on hold. Marquise has great vocals, and she has some time to shine on this song, but this may be my least favorite song on the entire album. It’s just not for me.
Purpose turns up the energy on “Walls.” I remember when Sam sent myself and a few others this song as an early listen to get our feedback. Sam had begun trying to switch up his flow and do different things in his artistry and valued our opinions. Sam produced this song and I enjoy it now like I did then. The song is high energy, but Sam delivers in almost a whisper of a tone. You can hear him over the beat but he’s not matching the high energy of the beat, and I think it’s intentional. The song conveys a sense of urgency, and the hook helps deliver this as well. The hook is a chant of what sounds like multiple people chanting they are going to break down the walls. I feel like this song will go crazy when performed live. Song number ten is “Deny,” produced by YJO and speaks to the theme of denying your flesh to serve God. It’s similar to “The Cost” but zeroes in more on the idea of killing your flesh. This is a very common theme that gets approached in most Christian Hip Hop albums and ‘PITMOA’ is no exception. One of the standout portions of the song is where Sam Purpose said, “In the storm you’re my canopy/ feel your presence always stand with me.” Sam really has a flair for pairing words together that don’t necessarily rhyme, a litmus test of a proficient emcee.
As we head into the final songs of the project, we land on “Wheat or Tare.” As soon as I hear the Latin infused guitar I sat up like, “Oh? This what we doing? Ok Sam!!” Sam Purpose questions the listener on if they are really a Christian or if they are just saying it because it’s popular or socially accepted to do so. Sam argues that the life of a Christian is more than words; it's an action, specifically as he says it, “Loving your neighbor’s a verb.” I love the vibe of this YJO produced beat, and Sam sounds great on this track. I appreciate Sam stepping out of the established sound of ‘PITMOA’ and doing something different. This is a standout song for me, it’s definitely worth listening to again and again. The next to last song is a special track titled “Black Dad,” produced by Epik the Dawn. There has long been a stigma in the Black community that Black fathers don’t stick around to raise their children. However, in recent years, a new generation of Black men have risen up to become the fathers they never had. This theme has been touched on quite a bit in CHH, but I appreciate Purpose’s approach. The production on these songs is usually somber or sentimental sounding, but Epik The Dawn’s horns make this sound like an overcoming anthem. My favorite bars from Sam were, “We’re not your babysitters, club daddy day care/ We the teachers, ain’t no sub, we the top tier.” Sam Purpose isn’t just talking about fathers being present but leading their homes spiritually. This song fits perfectly on this album; make sure you play this song for a Black dad you admire.
The final song is “Persistence,” produced by Epik The Dawn. I think that it is quite fitting that an album about persistence ends with a song of the same name. Sam starts off with a quick monologue as he encourages the listener to keep moving forward. This song is the one I’ve been waiting for from Sam and I didn’t know it was coming. This project had a lot of Sam Purpose on the hook, and midway through the album, I found myself wanting a song without any hook. I just wanted Sam Purpose to bleed out his heart on a track, and “Persistence” is that song. Sam is the most vulnerable he’s ever been on these three verses. This song is the longest and it is ‘PITMOA’ if you had to sum it up in one song. I don’t want to spoil the topics Sam touches on, but just know that this song is a must listen. I can see this song getting added to playlists that folks will throw on when they need some encouragement. This was the perfect way to end the project and is in the running for the best song on the project.
In conclusion, Sam Purpose has really brought what I can confidently call his best work to date. The album isn’t perfect, I believe there are some points where Sam sounds a little nasally; especially on the tracks “Put Down The Mask” and “Deny.” There is a lot of autotune on this album; that seemed to be the go-to whenever a chorus required singing. Sam seems to have been leading up to this album from 2019 with the release of “Walls,” up until February of this year with “Black Dad.” ‘PITMOA’ goes from being a funny looking title and vague concept to something that is fleshed out by the end of the project. Sam doesn’t just encourage the listener to persist, he gets in the trenches with them and points to instances in his life where he had to persist and where he is currently persisting. I can’t wait for folks to interact with this album and see what they take away from it. Make sure you check out Sam Purpose’s latest album ‘PITMOA.’
Check out Sam Purpose's album 'PITMOA' here