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Worship Hip-hop Zealand Zealand Worship: The EP (Warner) FOR FANS OF: Phil Joel QQQQ Phil Joel’s heart for the church has remained steadfast for as long as he’s made music. Whether referencing his notable work with the globally known Newsboys, his six solo albums or the discipleship materials he’s developed under the title “Deliberate People,” Joel seeks first and foremost to use his gifts to equip and edify the church. His new worship band, Zealand, is the latest expression of that desire and commitment. Zealand Worship, the group’s debut EP, opens with a two-minute cinematic build entitled “Awaken (Prelude)” that beautifully sets the stage for a short, five-song set that will fit well within the contemporary worship scene. “Lead Us To Your Heart” and “That’s Who You Are” seem particularly well suited to catch on with congregations looking for fresh vertical content. –Matt Conner WE LIKE: “Lead Us To Your Heart” FLAME Forward (Clear Sight Music) FOR FANS OF: Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Mike Real QQQQ By now FLAME’s reputation as an articulate truth-teller whose lyrical gems shine on chart-topping albums goes before him. Both Captured (2010) and The 6th (2012) hit No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel Charts, and his latest, Forward, shows a hip-hop artist maintaining stride at a career peak. Lyrically, Forward is a clarion call for an “engaged alienation,” asking Christians to take countercultural stands on tracks like “1st Freedom” and “Absolute Truth” atop sermon clips and news reports. “Move Forward,” which features Jai, references history’s cycles of liberalism, while “We Goin’ Reign” speaks hope to persecuted believers around the world. Through it all, Flame addresses the global church with a potent cocktail of truth and chastisement, hope and love. –Matt Conner WE LIKE: “1st Freedom”