Saturday, September 25, 2010
shai linne Storiez Album Review
Those of us that love Christian rap won’t mind it if you call us addicts. After all we yearn for the next single or album to drop like a crack head yearning for a fix. I daresay in this hunger we’ve somehow learnt to take anything that comes our way under the tag of “Christian rap” and we accept it substandard (void of Word) or not. This can be put down partly to the fact the emergence of “crunk” which I’m sure every “hip-hop head” sees as a headache and an adulteration of the original genre. Well, I consider my self one of such “hip-hop heads” and I still love crunk. Have I sold out? A discourse for another day, today’s discourse however, revolves round an emcee that without a doubt deserves the title “hip-hop head”, his name? shai linne aka “the lower case emcee”
I’m specifically talking about his third studio album Storiez. This is one cd I barely knew was out and didn’t even listen to for a whole year! Why? Let’s just say made it to the top of my hit list first… that aside we all know shai line has a signature that includes lyrical ability and spiritual depth (his previous projects attest to that fact) but even I have to admit that this time he hit us hard with quality stuff. This is an album that is very much what it sounds like, a compilation of stories complete with a narrator (Pastor Rick Warren of The Purpose Driven Life fame) and these stories like every other good ones have profound lessons to teach. In an era where the average song is 4 minutes long, our guy decides to do songs that average 5 minutes, some even go up to 8 minutes! The guest list consists of people you may know and some you may not, from Flame to Json, Evangel to Ant it seems both the “underground” and the mainstream of rap are represented on the project. Might I add there are kids on a couple of songs (I mean we’re talking about stories right?)
I believe I’ve painted a pretty good picture as regards structure, now let’s get to essence (and I don’t mean the Dj). Shai linne has always hit on the message of salvation from eternal damnation and the songs on this album more than subtly make that fact known. From songs like “As the hour draws near”, “letters from the grave”, “wake up you’re alive” to all the other songs on the album there’s always something on each song that you can relate to regardless of your viewpoint. There’s a song about the Passover in Egypt, one about the great Charles Spurgeon, one about love but I think the greatest story (song) is Martyrs. With a cast of Json, Evangel, Techniq, Ant and God’s Servant this song tells of different martyrs in different times that were cut down for The Faith and their refusal to renounce Christ. My verdict, craftily profound and it even borders on disturbing as it makes you ask yourself “what have I been doing all this while?” (Although I doubt you’re being asked to looking for trouble or an easy death in the name of martyrdom). One thing that grips you on each song is the vivid representation of each story that you often feel like you were present at the time of each of the narrated events (except you are for some reason “imaginationally challenged”).
Storiez is a keeper, that’s for sure. Probably won’t get 5 stars from everybody but it’s amongst the best albums ever made. As I am rounding up I guess it’ worthwhile to mention that this album debuted at no 14 on the iTunes rap/hip-hop chart when it came out, obviously an indicator of the power within.