Lyrical Theology Part One: Theology is the latest release by Lamp Mode Recordings’ front man, shai linne. This album truly is an opportunity for a listener to Christian hip hop to pull out your bible and dive fully into the Word of God. One word of warning, if you do not agree with Reformed Theology, you may take issue with some songs on the album, but do not let you be blinded to the artistry and the truth that shai linne showcases on the album.
Thankfully the album begins with the “Table of Contents”. Much like an introduction to a book, shai runs through the content of the album with skill and much lyrical confidence. The first chapter to this book is “Hypostatic Union”. This is an explanation of the concept of the person of Jesus being both God and Man simultaneously. Once we are schooled on the personhood of Christ, we learn of His “Active Obedience” as a man, how he was the atonement for our sins. It is amazing how much scripture shai spins into his rhymes.
An exposition of Psalm 110 is next with “Exalted”. I opened up my bible to Psalm 110 and followed along as shai explained it to me. I have never heard a rapper exposit Scripture with rhyme, but he truly does a good job of explaining it. Next up is an explanation of the person of “The Holy Spirit”. This track features the lyrical talents of Timothy Brindle and speaks of the Holy Spirit and His presence throughout the scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
“Regeneration” features some old school record scratching which really takes me back. It is reminiscent of the same sound we heard in Timothy Brindle’s Restoration. This song is about being born again and goes through the story of Jesus and Nicodemus from John 3. “Election” is next, and is the first song that clearly espouses Reformed Theology. Not being a theologian, I am not going to argue with what shai and featured artist Willie Will rap about. The lyricism is top notch and an incredibly difficult subject is explained. “Cosmic Powers” is about spiritual warfare and is followed up by the controversial “Fal$e Teacher$”. The song calls out prosperity teachers by name and includes some of the most popular televangelists of our time. It is an interesting song and some may not agree with shai’s approach, but as Christians we should all be just as bold to speak truth, and do it biblically.
Before listening to this album I had no idea what eschatology was, but “The Millennium” gives us shai’s view on end-times theology and that he follows the view of an amilliennialist. He admits he could be wrong on his view and that our view on eschatology is not as important as the gospel we agree on. It is an extremely interesting track, that provides a good education on end times that should lead the listener to do some study on their own. Eschatology is followed by more Reformed Theology with “Take Up And Read”. The first book of course is the Bible, however, what follows are references to the who’s who of the Reformed Church, John MacArthur, John Newton, Baxter, Richard, Sproule and Piper along with a full reading list.
“Theology Q&A” is up next. Stephen the Levite asks the questions and shai provides the responses. The lyricism in this song truly is incredible as they work through some general topics, the person, role and rule of Jesus and more end-times. “Sacred Science” is a spoken word poem from Blair Linne and speaks to how we all need to study theology regardless of our vocation. This track is truly impressive and will encourage you in your study of God’s Word. The album ends with what can only be termed a worship song, but rather than worship with only my heart and soul, this song is focussed on worshiping with “All My Mind”.
This was a challenging album to review for the mere fact that I don’t necessarily agree with shai’s theology. Putting theology aside and focusing in on the lyricism, production quality and the heart behind the album, I am hard pressed to think of an album that caused me to open my Bible while listening. This truly is a hip hop album that you could turn on in your quiet time and reflect upon the lyrics and the scriptures given to us in each song. Some of the beats seem dated and the flow of the songs at times is reminiscent of older hip hop music. An important companion to listening however are the lyrics that can be found here and of course your Bible and perhaps a dictionary for some of the new words that may be added to your vocabulary.