Grace and peace! This is shai linne of Lampmode Recordings. A while ago, I was encouraged by some friends to start a blog. For a long time, I resisted. I was content to interact with those familiar with our ministry through our website, email and other message boards. However, as time has passed and God has graciously given us more listeners, I've begun to see the value in presenting ideas in one place where they can be archived and referred to at a later date, if necessary. Not that I claim to be an authority or anything. However, as 1) a born again believer in Jesus Christ who has been saved by the unfathomable mercy of God, 2) a lover of God's Word, 3) the recipient of a particular gifting to express these things through Hip-hop culture and 4) a passion for discipleship among those who are either a part of or influenced by Hip-hop culture, I am aware of the Lord's grace towards me. Therefore, I want to use the platform God has given me to spread His fame and, to whatever extent I can, help others grow in understanding of the character of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, Hip-hop culture and how the three intersect.
Who Am I?
My name is shai linne. I'm an African-American man who was born in Philadelphia, Pa in 1974. Growing up in Philly, I was exposed to and a part of hip-hop culture from an early age. I have a heavy background in the arts. I went to college for theater and I started recording secular hip-hop songs in the early nineties. In 1999- in the midst of my hatred towards Him- Jesus Christ radically stole my heart, forgave my sins and changed my destiny and desires forever. Since 2001, I've been using my music to exalt and proclaim Jesus. I've appeared on numerous independent and national releases. I connected with deejay essence in 2002 and joined Lampmode Recordings in 2004, releasing my debut cd "The Solus Christus Project" in January 2005.
I would attribute much of my growth in grace and the knowledge of the Scriptures to God's using the preaching ministries of James Boice and Phillip Ryken as I attended Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philly from 1999-2006. Since 2005, I've been involved with a church plant in North Philly called Epiphany Fellowship. I'm single and I work full-time at a staffing agency in downtown Philly. I spend most of the rest of my time travelling for ministry engagements, writing songs/recording, serving at my local church and teaching men through one-on-one Bible studies. I hope to attend seminary at some point in the future.
Who Am I Talking To?
A wise person once said that if you're going to make a blog (or any other writings for that matter), you should know who your audience is and write specifically to them. The only problem is I'm not quite sure who my audience is! My assumption is that this blog will be visited primarily by people who are familiar with my music. In my travels and correspondence, I've seen that this group covers a wide range of ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. The unifying factor has been love for the Lord Jesus Christ, a passion for His truth and an appreciation for holy hip-hop music. If you fit that category, I definitely have you in mind when I write.
I'm also thinking about another group of people as well. This is the group of people who love the Lord Jesus Christ and have a passion for His truth, but have no appreciation for holy hip-hop music or perhaps even have a distaste for hip-hop period. I have you in mind as well. My desire is not to get you to like rap music. However, one of the things I've noticed about Christians who speak out against hip-hop is that they often speak as those on the outside of the culture looking in. Unfortunately, this limited perspective is usually shaped more by perception and cultural biases than the Scriptures and factual information concerning Hip-hop culture.
I write to you as a fellow believer- redeemed by the grace of God and daily clinging to the cross of Christ as I eagerly anticipate worshipping the Lamb for all eternity- together with you. I would like for this blog to serve you by educating you about Hip-hop culture with the hope that, even if you can't appreciate the various artforms, you will at least be able to rejoice and praise God for what He has been doing among His precious elect ones who happen to be Hip-hoppers. With you in mind, I plan to be as clear as possible when it comes to defining terms and clearing up popular misconceptions concerning Hip-hop.
Finally, I'm thinking about a third group of people who don't necessarily fit into either of the previous two groups. If you are not a Christian but you just happen to know me and/or like my music or if you just happened to stumble upon the site, I'm thinking about you as well. Feel free to stick around and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
Why Lyrical Theology?
The lyrical aspect is simply things related to Hip-hop poetry and the art form of rhyming as well as the music in general. The theology aspect is things related to the study of God and His self-revelation through the person and work of His Son Jesus Christ. Because my main priority in life is not music, but knowing God and making Him known, the theology aspect will get much more emphasis than the lyrical aspect.
How Often Will I Blog?
I don't know. I plan to update it at least weekly to start with. As time permits, I'll try to update it as frequently as possible.
What's The Purpose Of This Blog?
I'm continually amazed at the grace of God towards me in giving me an opportunity to impact the lives of the growing number who have been exposed to our music. If that's you, please know that I feel a deep sense of responsiblity towards you. There's only so much that can be said in a song or even on a whole CD. I want to expose you to the people and things that God has used in my life. I want to go deeper with you into the Scriptures. I want to do anything I can to help you grow in the knowledge of Christ. If I never meet you in this life, I want to do what I can to help build you up in the faith, in order that we might rejoice together at the resurrection. Prayerfully, our Lord will use something as insignificant as this blog for such a glorious purpose. (He's notorious for using ordinary means to accomplish extraordinary things) I have alot on my heart and there's alot to unpack. Be patient with me as I'm new to this whole blogging thing lol. Ultimately, my desire is that the God who uses foolish things to shame the wise might be pleased to bring glory to His great name through this.
So, with that said, my first blog is complete. Let's build!
grace and peace,