Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday's Weekly Rap Up - July 21, 2017 - Shai Linne "Still Jesus"

Shai Linne - Still Jesus

It's been a while since my last #FridaysWeeklyRapUp entry, but there's some new music dropping that needs to be shared. Today Shai Linne releases his Still Jesus album. It's his first album in about three years.

After becoming a Christian, I immediately took to the Christian Hip Hop scene, being introduced to the music of Trip Lee, Tedashii and Lecrae, of Reach Records. Their "Unashamed" music was a foundation of my growth in Christ. Tracks like Lecrae's "Go Hard", "Rebel" or "Jesus Muzik", Tedashii's "Make War" or "Community", and Trip Lee's "Who You Rollin' Wit" were on repeat. Their music was invaluable at a time of growth in my Christian life, and it was supported at times by sermon excerpts, including John Piper on many occasions.

But, as time has gone on, there's been a bit of a drift of Reach Records. What seemed more like ministry, now seems a bit more seeker-sensitive, a bit less brazen and bold about sharing the gospel and person of Christ. Now, I have no room to criticize, as I'm not nearly bold enough in my testimony  of the work of Christ in my life. But, there's a certain affinity for music that brings a better understanding of Jesus and his character. This is where some feel there has been a drift for Christian Hip Hop (CHH).

Shai Linne is a pastor and rapper who has maintained his "Lyrical Theology" approach, centering on scripture-drenched lyrics, and less on specific social topics. (I'd argue Shai's "The Attributes of God" is my favorite CHH album.) In the last few years Shai has noticed this drift in CHH and addresses it on "Still Jesus". On Shai's albums he has featured a few "Random Thoughts" tracks, and "Still Jesus" includes "Random Thoughts 3", addressing this drift in CHH.

If you're new to CHH, be sure to first watch Shai's recent interview with DJ Wade-O, as it explains much of Shai's background, reason for addressing this topic, and why this drift is a bit of dangerous territory for some, especially those who are new to the Christian faith. This isn't controversy for the sake of controversy, but an important discussion and recognition of something that could be leading some astray. I pray this is a sobering perspective for some, and something that unifies, rather than divides, the CHH scene and ministry.