Reviewed by: Ed Welch
Rating: 9.075 (Out of 10)
I’m a casual Shai Linne fan. In other words, every time I’ve heard him rap (via features on other projects), he’s killed it. But I’ve never had an album of his before. So, I considered myself somewhat knowledgeable of his lyrical ability (aka I already knew he was tight). Even knowing that, Shai Linne almost blew me away with this project. I’m really impressed with the work that was put into this CD. It is sound sonically, lyrically, and it provides sound doctrine as well. Let me tell you how Shai Linne almost blew me away…
The project starts out with some nice spoken word with good music in the background that sounds extremely similar to the soundtrack of Transformers (I like that soundtrack). It sets the tone well for the first song (“The Glory of God”), which also happens to be one of my favorites. This is the only song I already knew about before being assigned this project. I already keep this one on repeat and I’m not tired of it yet. This song surprised me so much, because I didn’t know my brother could drop lyrics like this with this much style…this much complexity. …Shai Linne? …Twisting? I admit I wasn’t ready for the lyrical onslaught that was put on this track. After that song, the carnage continued with the next song (“Taste and See”). Another tight track…more awesome lyrics. By the time the vocals hit on “Our God is in the Heavens”, I was already melting in my car seat. I’m shaking my head now just from the memory of how all of these songs hit in succession. It doesn’t get much better than this people.
Somebody dropped the ball on “The Holiness of God (Reprise)” though. The music is nice (I thoroughly enjoy a good symphonic sound), but I don’t go to baseball games to hear the organ play. I wanna see some home runs and triple plays. After music plays for over a minute and a half, you get hit with a few chants and then…it’s over. I don’t get it. So, now I’m looking for a new build up to get back into things and that’s when I notice the biggest weakness of this album. Depending on your sensitivity to tempo and what you call “fast”, most of this album is slow. Nothing is really “fast”, a few moderate tempo songs, but the rest…slow. The music is great, but there’s no real change in pace to give you the highs and lows you expect from a “great” album. Does that mean I didn’t enjoy it? Of course not! But you have to be in the mood to chill and be ready to listen to really appreciate this album in its entirety.
The content on this album is so awesome! Hearing Shai Linne talk about the attributes of my God in such a respectful and articulate way was so exciting! I can’t stress how pleased I am with the lyrical content and skill of this CD. There’s not much out there that can rival what was presented on this CD in this category. The message on this album was presented so clearly…so crisp…so sharp. This album is a diamond in the rough for sure.
If you’re mindful of the tempo of this project, I’m sure you’ll love it. Shai Linne takes you on a ride throughout this entire project. But this isn’t a Corvette that you expect to go from zero to 60 as soon as possible. This is a limousine ride with limousine quality. Nothing is rushed. He presents the attributes of our ageless God like fine wine that is meant to be savored with every sip. Why rush? So sometimes the music just plays, giving you time to contemplate the facts that are being given [Yeah, I know I just gave an explanation for “The Holiness of God (Reprise)”].
My only other “small” gripe is this album does not “knock/bump” at all. There is almost no 808 presence at all (about 2 or 3 songs have it…but its quiet). I know Shai Linne brings an East Coast type of flavor, but I’m not talking about that. There were beats on this album that had that potential to take things through the roof in this category. He brought the flow, but that deep kick (or that strong bass line) that just vibrates in your bones was missing at certain junctures where it was probably needed for the style that was being given. But like I said, this was a limousine ride and it was all done in class. In short, Shai Linne showed me that I wasn’t as knowledgeable of his lyrical ability as I thought. He’s on a lyrical level that I don’t hear that often in the Christian or secular market. So yeah…pros and cons considered, he almost blew me away. I’m definitely thankful that he took me for the ride though. My life is richer because of the experience…for real. But hey, everybody is a critic. I’m just the guy who wrote the review. Peace and much love.
Ed Welch aka E Pluribus Unum
Overall Production 8.5
Potential Impact 9