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August 17, 2008
Every now and again I bring news of a few of the albums that have crossed by desk (or my copy of iTunes) in the past few weeks. Today I bring news of three notable albums.
Rapper Evangel has just released a new album titled Expository Journey. At the web site for Lamp Mode Recordings, the label that released the album, you’ll find this: “Many of you know him as a founding member of Christcentric. Others may know him from guest appearances on The Solus Christus Project, Killing Sin , Phanatik’s The Incredible Walk or Voice’s The Crucible. He is undeniably a favorite emcee of everyone at Lamp Mode, which is why we’re so excited to be releasing his first solo album - Expository Journey.” Being largely rap-ignorant, I have little ability to evaluate the record accept to compare it with albums by Voice. Like Voice, the album is heavily theological—there is no beating around the bush here. I’ll borrow a few paragraphs from a review at Reformation Theology.
From the outset, it’s clear that Evangel displays some of the things I’ve come to expect from Lampmode and Christcentric — a clear and unapologetic testimony to the truths of the Reformation, emphasizing man’s total depravity and inability, monergistic regeneration, penal substitution, and the necessary effect of the gospel, which must however be passionately pursued, of personal holiness.
Evangel’s chief distinguishing characteristic, appropriately enough, seems to be his emphasis on personal evangelism. This is not primarily a worship album, and many of the songs are addressed to sinners, or written with the unconverted in mind. He seems not to have gotten over his own conversion, which one suspects from the nature of several tracks was fairly recent. Dialogues between evangelists and sinners, believers and their unbelieving friends, doctrinally mature believers and man-centered evangelicals, and so on, make up a pretty significant chunk of the material.
Expository Journey also contains a few tracks on other specific topics, such as, for instance, “A Good Thing,” which is basically a scripture-saturated unpacking of the beauty of marriage, and its divine ordination. The approach of taking so popular a musical motif as the love between a man and woman, and doing the very unpopular and unusual thing of laying out God’s own opinion on the topic, is quite refreshing.
Basically, Evangel is in fact an evangelist. His music is primarily sermonic, an appeal to the unsaved and to fellow believers alike to be more firmly rooted in the deep doctrinal truths of the Reformation. I have no hesitancy in encouraging anyone interested to get over to Christcentric and order a copy of this album, or any of the other albums available there.
You can check out some of the songs at his MySpace page.
While we’re on the subject of rap music, Voice also has a new album that has just released. This one, his third, is titled The Process of the Pardon. As with his previous two albums, it is an album that teaches theology and which glories in the gospel. New this time is guest appearances from a couple of well-known MC’s—Ligon Duncan and Wayne Grudem. In this case he has not inserted excerpts from sermons, but actual recordings they made in-studio with him. They cover, among other topics, Covenant Theology and the ordo salutis. Voice was kind enough to send me a document with the lyrics and it comes in at 33 pages! You can do a lot of theology in 33 pages. Here is a sample from one of the songs:
In Christ I’m legalized, sin is equalized, He penalized
Now that’s what I call a friend epitomized. I minimized
The sin in guys and the sequels rise, it’ll beef with guys
And I’ve traced it back to a match that has prequel ties
Stick to facts, let it meditate between the eyes
In a moment atonement will levitate what’s seen in guys
Seen as wise between you and I believe in thy it’ll stand
Hands, keep em high; man, don’t even try
To deny Christ crucified is evil eyed
Evil pride as if it never is found where clever is
Temporary, but forever lives somewhere beyond
The eyelids of the promised heir’s kids
What I did was give up to grace when it lit up
Now my life bows down till the Great Renown says get up
Conversion is good but when you got the wrong version
It could be a deterrent to the urgent that is currently lurking
That’s why we’re not emergent. Cause to the flesh it sounds good, what
But you don’t just buy any detergent; you buy what’s worth it, right?
Apart from Christ, all you get in this life is salvation waiting at the circus
With lions and tigers, good, terrific, but if it’s not sin legit, then get it, it’s not salvific
So don’t miss it. To be redeemed by the blood streams of Christ
You have to decide if it is or isn’t. Decisions…
And finally, Phil Wickham is offering his album singalong for free download. I don’t know a whole lot about Phil but have listened to the album a few times and am largely enjoying it. And the price is right! You can download it right here.