Is hip-hop fulfilling its mission of elevating consciousness and freeing young minds, or has it fallen under the thrall of materialism, thug imagery and other negative influences? While the answer never changes—a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B—it’s a question that always bears asking. On the David Liz-directed LP title track video for Hell Ride to Heaven, Layne Harper poses it once again, and the results are just as illuminating as you’d expect. Over The Classmatez’ ear-pleasing instrumental, a midtempo arrangement centered around a dreamy string-brass loop, the Memphis spitter who brought us Beyond Category ponders whether he’s doing enough to counter the myriad destructive influences pervading our culture. Making a guest appearance via sample, Lauryn Hill has the first as well as the last word: “The music industry is just a microcosm of the world. So whenever you stand for something and you stand for goodness and truth, you’ll always get resistance, period.” Has this thought-provoking jam left your interest piqued? Stay tuned—Hell Ride to Heaven (the album) has yet to receive a drop date, but we’ll keep you supplied with the latest news and tunes.