If you look back over your life, chances are that at many of the major life changes, such as conversion, growth in spiritual maturity, death in the family etc., there was someone walking through these periods with you. Maybe it was a close friend or a spouse. Maybe it was a book that got you through that death of a family member. Maybe it was your friend who was responsible for sparking an interest in a hobby that is making money.
For me, Black Star was responsible for teaching me more about hip-hop than any other artist and another duo (though not strictly a group) has been responsible for my growth as a believer. They have been there for me through my struggles with porn, my struggles with finding a church where I fit in, my identity etc. These brothers have been responsible for my growth from a babe to a believer walking on his own two feet, for my increase in love, knowledge and devotion to Christ. These brothers have never met me and seeing as I live on the other side of the world; we will never meet on this side of heaven. These brothers are timothy brindle & shai linne*.
I cannot mention one without mentioning the other as they are both two sides of the same coin. Both these emcees** coined a new term “lyrical theology” for which Lamp Mode is famous for. Lyrical theology began with Christology, however these two have taken the concept to new heights. Prior to this release, timothy brindle had been on a hiatus of almost 6yrs. The reasons for this hiatus, its consequences and his restoration are the major theme of this album. Against this livid tapestry, timothy ebulliently paints lustrous tales of the scintillating Grace of his Savior.
It has been said noted that Timothy’s vivid word paintings did not necessarily move you on first listen. This was due to the often lackluster beat selection. In this he can be compared to Nas***. On the Restoration the production is handled by Wit, who also executively produced the album. The result? 19 intricately crafted instrumentals that are diverse, yet suit the unique flow of Timothy Brindle. For example “Mercy Music” is an exquisite, somber keys layered cut allowing Timothy to speak to the listener, urging them to repent and reminding them that “He won’t disown you, you’re only hope, He is still /cuz Christ groaned on the hill when He atoned for your guilt/ there His love was shown and revealed /so, ‘Come, be washed whiter than snow’ by the flow that He spilt!” This is the genius of Wit. A true artist who can make a track like “Mercy Music” yet can turn around and make this.
timothy has the most unique flow I have ever heard. We can dub it the “brindle” flow as I have never heard anyone else, apart from his blood brother, use this type of flow. This particular flow of words is such that he stretches words and syllables to make un-rhymable words rhyme; of which the results are astonishing as seen on “The Great Exchange” where he rhymes “My 2 hugest problems/ can’t be solved by human logic/ or by a clueless college student’s putrid knowledge—that’s foolish non-sense!/ see I am ruined, godless/ and so are you, dude if you are honest/ so it’s a losing contest/ to compare yourself to GOD who’s TRUE and FLAWLESS/” However, Tim is no one tricky pony and on this project he has definitely worked to implement quite a few different rhyme structures and flows.
This is just the beginning though. For the lyrical heads, this album is a feast with the dessert (favorite course of everyone) coming in the form of a “Lamp Mode Cypha” featuring all the Lamp Mode artists. If this isn’t a glimpse in to what we will be doing in eternity, then I don’t know what is. Just as shai himself said on another timothy brindle track, “By grace through faith in Christ we’re eternal lifers/ Forever we’ll be partaking in heavenly cyphas/”
Albums created in the midst of much anguish are often some of the best albums that you will ever hear. So what can I say without giving too much away? This album has risen from the dark night of his soul. Through this LP, Tim endeavors to bring you closer to his Lord and Savior who has delivered him from the blackness of his own heart and brought him in His marvelous light. If this album is not something that you are used to lyrically, then get the lyrics, read them with the songs and the scriptures.
If you are a Christian, then you will experience the Romans battle. In that case, this album will be a balm to your soul, a friend that cries with you, a companion as you walk through the tunnel and ultimately a guide that points to the light of Christ. The Restoration is not just a comeback album; The Restoration is a jubilant victory cry of a humbled and broken man preparing the way for his LORD. Let the angels sing.
*These two have such brilliant chemistry that every track they make together is a guaranteed classic. They are like Ying & Yang, Eric B & Rakim, Timbaland & Aaliyah…shall I go on?
**notice the word “emcees” and not rappers.
***considered by many to be the greatest emcee to ever breathe (behind Rakim). His problem has always been dull beats, quite like Tim.