“Christian” Music? Try Theological Hip-HopCulture, Featured, Music, Protestant, Religion — By J.F. Arnold on November 2, 2011 at 9:17 am
Yesterday, Christian hip-hop artist Shai Linne released a much-awaited album called The Attributes of God. The album can be purchased on its own (either via iTunes or Lampmode Recording’s website) or, at least during the pre-order period, alongside A.W. Pink’s book of the same name.
It says something strong when an album is being sold with a book seeking to explicate something this complex. After all, while God is certainly simple in the sense of complete and perfect unity, from our finite perspective, God’s attributes can even seem contradictory or confusing. I haven’t read Pink’s book, so I cannot comment on the merits of that particular text, but if this album is any indication, then the text is worth looking into.
You can read a solid review of the album here. Additionally, there will be a Dual Impressions review (myself and another reviewer talking about the album for around ten minutes) posted on Friday. You can check this page to look for that.
I’ve spent time arguing that Christian hip-hop is a worthwhile endeavor, at times providing an exploration of the genre and at others allowing the genre to speak for itself. If you haven’t believed me when I have said that Christian hip-hop can provide us insight into theological truths, then I suspect this album may be just the thing to convince you. From start to finish you won’t find a track here that isn’t focused on some attribute of God. Agree or disagree with any particular track as you will (I suspect resistance on a few tracks, particularly “Our God is in the Heavens” from some), you will be forced to admit that the album is packed with theology.
Previous releases that focused on theology have usually lacked production value, Shai’s previous releases included (though they were still well produced over-all, they were not on the caliber of this album by a long shot). This isn’t a review of the album, though, so I won’t go into that.
Theology is a great thing, and I love seeing it done in a variety of mediums. I am often happy to pick up commentaries (especially from a variety of authorial stand-points), but I am often more excited to see theology being done in different contexts, such as songs, blogs, poems (written or spoken) or film. When done well, theology in such contexts has the potential to be even more moving than traditional ‘scholastic’ approaches.