When it comes to hip-hop, I am like a fish out of water. I did a couple group projects on it during my brief stint at Norfolk State University (an HBCU) and have a couple hip-hop alums on my iPod (Jay-Z, Blackalicious, and N.E.R.D.). I can appreciate it when it is well-made, but most of the lyrics are so profane, demeaning, or just flat out lame that I never got into it. Plus, I don’t have many dance moves apart from fist pumping or head bobbing.
Recently, our friend Jimmey introduced us to Christian/Reformed hip-hop artist Shai Linne and his album The Atonement. He’s a talented musician with solid “beats,” a robust vocabulary, and strong vocal delivery. His lyrics put secular rap – not to mention much of what’s played on “positive, encouraging” Christian music radio stations – to shame. He uses many words that you won’t hear from many pulpits. Some songs are essentially hip-hop renditions of the catechism. Throughout the album, he also encourages listeners to “get into the Word” to see for themselves.
The song “Atonement Q & A” near the end of his Atonement album (my favourite song on the album) is a run down of common theological questions like Who is God, What is sin, and What do words like expiation, justification, sanctification, and propitiation mean. (click the song title for lyrics).
“Misson Accomplished” is a defense of limited atonement and irresistible grace.
“Triune Praise” puts forth the doctrine of the Trinity in rhyme.
The final track, “The Gospel” explains Shai Linne’s purpose in making the album.
The Atonement also intersperses snippets from John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, and others, which adds an interesting touch.
In addition, Shai Linne has a blog over at lyricaltheology.blogspot.com. He has some good reflections, as well as lyrics on the left. Check it out.