Shai Linne’s latest album, Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1, just released April 9th, 2013 via Lamp Mode Records. As the tile suggests, “this [album] is part one of a trilogy, with the other two albums ([Part 1: Theology,] Part 2: Doxology and Part 3: Sociology) to be released in the near future.” In this album Shai “expounds on a number of the core teachings of the historic Christian faith. Think Wayne Grudem’s ‘Systematic Theology’, but with rugged drums” (see source).
As Shai indicates in this tweet, his album has received a lot of attention. Some of it is positive, some–not so much (see “Fal$e Teacher$” below).
My twitter blowing up the past few days! Thx to all who bought the album. Thx to the saints in Africa for your responses
— Shai Linne (@ShaiLinne) April 11, 2013
3 Sample Songs
Now… an entire separate article could easily be written about this song and the controversy it has sparked. However, that is outside the scope of this review. To sum things up, in this song Shai calls out various false teachers, namely those who teach the “Prosperity” or “Health and Wealth Gospel,” which is really no Gospel at all (Gal 1:6-9). Personally, I don’t necessarily know a lot about every individual he mentions; but I trust Shai’s judgment here. Calling out false teachers is a bit radical and definitely taboo in our American Christian culture where “the only heresy is saying that there’s heresy”; but it is Biblically mandated (e.g., 2 John 10; Rom 16:17-18; and 1 Tim 1:3; note also entire books of the Bible that are written to combat false teachers/teaching [e.g., see Jude 3]). Of course, Shai anticipated negative feed back, so he made this video explaining why he made the song.
As David Daniels from Wade-O Radio noted, “Stephen the Levite spoke for all of Lamp Mode when he explained that rappers on the label write songs like ‘Fal$e Teacher$’ in an attempt to help liberate those who have been deceived. The intent of such tracks is to open their eyes and help them find the real gospel.”
Now musically, as I’ve noted before on the blog, I’m not a real big rap guy. So, I’m not the most qualified individual to review the album’s music. I don’t always find it that fantastic; but there is something about it that complements the lyrics quite well. I enjoy what at least appears to me to be Shai’s more “indie” or unique style of rap.
But if one were to compare Shai Linne’s album here to one of Lecrae’s recent album’s, e.g., Gravity or Rehab, I imagine most would favor the musical style of Lecrae. But 1) comparing someone to Lecrae isn’t very kind, and 2) Shai Linne’s a different rapper. His greatest strength lies in his lyrical ability.
Hands down, Shai writes some of the best Christian lyrics, if not the best, out there right now. I can’t over emphasize this. I don’t even like rap; but I listen to Shai Linne because his lyrics are just that phenomenal. He’s thoroughly steeped in a solid Reformed theology (see below); and he communicates it accurately, artistically, creatively, and emotionally. Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1 is like systematic theology book in album form. And it’s quite entertaining as well. One may say that the goal of this album is to engender a more wholistic worship which includes right thinking about God. As the song With All My Mind says, “I just want to worship You with all my mind.”
As I just noted, Shai Linne’s theology, as communicated in this album and his other albums, is well saturated in the Reformed tradition. Holding to a rather Reformed theology myself, I can easily appreciate this. Not only is he theologically accurate, but he is also theologically rich. I imagine you will be stretched, challenged, and encouraged by listening to this album.
Given our readership, I feel like I must make mention of Shai’s song, “The Millenium.” In this song he defends his eschatological view known as Amillennialism, with which I know many of our readers may disagree. Amillennialism is a historic, orthodox, conservative, Biblical (i.e., based on Biblical interpretation) view held by many Christians past and present. And it’s definitely viable from scripture. And more so, one’s view on the millenium in Revelation 20 is not the most important issue in the “theological world.” Even if you disagree with him, the song is worth a listen, maybe even more so if you disagree with him.
Overal – 4.5
Music – 3
Lyrics – 5
Theology – 5