Big Yae and his team deliver a very refreshing and encouraging album that is well-produced, well-mixed, and on-point lyrically. Really on-point. In the midst of “The Beef” there’s nothing to beef about here. Big Yae clearly lands on the side of Gospel Rap, with fun beats, plain talk and encouraging words. Also, so much of Christian hip hop right now says, “God told me I have a destiny, and it’s making music. And no one can stop me because God is on my side.” Although there’s one track like that (They Ain’t Ready for It) the whole album has real substance, which is totally refreshing given much of the latest #chh batch. Behind the lyrical substance is slightly 90’s retro beats that are listenable, danceable, and pleasant to the ears. There’s plenty of ear candy here and your car stereo will agree. The flow is fantastic with some noteworthy features from C.J. King and K.H.A.M. The album is heavy on concepts and ideas, yet at the same time doesn’t try and draw the usual lines between the Calvinist and Armenian camps. The lyricists are just endorsing mainline doctrine: Build the Church. Share the Gospel. Be Holy.
Throughout the album, each song delivers a clear and crisp message. A prolific worship songwriter Paul Baloche says, “Every song should say one thing” and it’s great to see that the advice works for hip hop too. I get the sense that there’s some serious songwriting and production wisdom behind the whole album. There are years here. But the lyrics and rhymes are new and they shine. Here are some highlights. I’m Back is a “creed” track, saying exactly what we should stand for – the core values of being a Christian. Keep It Real does exactly that while not complaining, but speaking plain truth about a fallen world. We Gone Shine is the clear radio single with lyrical depth and a fabulous feature from C.J. King. I loved the song Underestimate about staying humble and letting God work in your life. Anonymous is along the same lines, saying that as Christians, we will seem anonymous to the world but it’s because we’re doing the right things. I Put My Life in Your Hands encourages us that no matter what happens God will watch over us. Even though we want good things to happen, God will decide. But in the meantime we should just praise Him. In the midst of a bevy of great tracks, they saved the best for last in Fly Away, which is an encouragement to stay true to yourself and stay true to God.
So across the board We Gone Shine made me feel like I’m shining. Thank you Big Yae. You and your team are shining too.