Open rebuke is better than secret love.
One of my favorite Christian rappers just released a new album. I have been listening to it a lot the last few days and I really enjoy it and think it may be his best album yet. In his album though he deals with some real things that are happening within Christian hip hop. That will be my main focus in this blog post.
Shai Linne is the rappers name and he has been faithful to the Word of God so far in all his albums. I can’t listen to him without also worshipping God and I would like to thank him for that. However in this last album he kind of stepped on some toes (as if he didn’t before with songs like “false teachers”) of some folks and it seems it hasn’t been well received. As a matter of fact one Christian rapper released a song the very next day in response to one of Shai’s songs, in a kind of battle rap intent.
I would like to say that I not only love Shai Linne and his music but I also love the men he was addressing and their music. I have listened for a few days now and do not see any ill intent from his album but a desire for the men to come back to their roots of Christian hip hop and to not be like the world with their careers. This is Shai being loving to his brethren! This is not him being “mean” or “unloving” but him being Christ-like and seeking to love his brother as he loves himself.
Back in 2004 when the Lord saved me I was very entrenched in the world’s hip hop. I listened to the most hardcore hip hop anyone could listen to but when He saved me I threw away all my rap albums, well over 100 of them. I threw them in the trash and never wanted to listen to that stuff again. Call me a legalist if you want but that was what God convicted me to do. I went a long while without listening to any music at all outside of what I heard and sang at church.
Then I found some so called Christian rap, which I didn’t know even existed. I started listening to these rappers who I thought were Christians but as I was growing I would notice them saying some heretical things in there music. So once again I got rid of it.
Then one day I heard a song by Lecrae, it was called souled out. I had already had an ill taste in my mouth for rap in general from my previous experiences but I listened intently. This song got me so pumped I immediately went and got every thing I could from him, which wasn’t much at that time. There was a line in the song that made me from that point forward recognize that hip hop can not only be good but it can teach and it can be set apart from the world! I loved it!!! I’ve never heard a rapper use words such as “systematic theology” and “eschatology” in a song before. It was almost like Lecrae was expounding God’s Word in rap music and he actually was.
From the time I fell in love with Lecrae’s music I started to listen to Trip Lee, Tedashii, Timothy Brindle, and haven’t even heard of Shai Linne yet. They all were still so small, I remember driving for about two hours to attend a free concert from Lecrae in Indiana. There were maybe 50 people there and the signs outside were small cardboard signs that were handwritten that said “free rap concert.” That was probably in 2005 and since then I’ve purchased every album he has released and found every song that I know he was featured in. I say all of this to say I love Lecrae and the 116 clique.
Now back to Shai’s album. I truly appreciate him loving his brother enough to take all the flack he has taken via twitter, rap songs in response, and whatever other means by which people have given him for it. Shai has Lecrae’s best interest at heart by calling him out and wanting him to come back to his roots. The writer of Proverbs say’s “open rebuke is better than secret love” and this is what Shai is showing in this album. He most certainly doesn’t hate Lecrae or 116. He most certainly doesn’t want to hurt Lecrae or 116. He wants the same thing I want and that’s them to be bold for the gospel. He wants them to be unashamed for the gospel as their motives were back when I started to listen.
I’m thankful for Shai’s album just as I’m thankful for Lecrae’s albums. Though I doubt anyone could argue that Lecrae is as bold now as he was in 2004. As I think on this I may not be as bold now as I was in 2004 and sometimes I need a swift kick in the rear end to get my head right. I’m glad that Shai was bold enough to do it and I think as Christians we shouldn’t get all uptight when we get corrected, especially when it’s in love by another Christian. I hope and pray that Lecrae listens to this album over and over again and truly hears Shai’s heart and love for him. I also pray for those that read this that you see true biblical love being shown in his album and my post. Then maybe one day Shai and Lecrae could help put together another 116 Clique album called the “14 letters” to finish up the New Testament.
For His Glory!