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After reading on message boards that many were unable to find “Born Again” by Knine, I was a bit leery about whether or not I would be successful in finding it myself. I went to Wal-Mart and went straight to the Rock/Pop/R&B because that where I had heard it could be found. I looked through the K’s. “I don’t see it. Hmm… This is where everyone told me it was. I wonder if they put it in the Gospel section?” I was about to be crushed for a minute, because I didn’t see it. But, there it was! There were two of them in the back of the row.

So, now I’ve heard the album. One thing that I immediately recognize is that Knine is not a man who has had an easy life – even while a Christian! He tells of many of his faults and shortcomings on this album. From yelling at his kids, putting his work before family, packing gats, being lazy, to having done poorly in school as a child and more. You get an open invitation into the life of Knine. It really makes you wonder how this guy is even serving the Lord and reppin’ him as strongly as he is on these tracks! You think to yourself, “How did this guy come to know the Lord???” After you've heard the CD a few times, you being to feel as if you knew Knine from way back when. Almost as if you had grown up in the same neighborhood and went to the same high school back in the day.

“Born Again” is not an attempt to make a hardcore, “gospel gangsta” album. To sum it up in one word, Knine just brings the “real” on this one. I enjoy listening to every track on this piece. This one will get heavy rotation by me.

Starting off with the introductory track “Bout Time,” Knine pretty much tells you what you can expect on the rest of the album. 

It’s about time somebody gave em something new • Somebody start speaking the truth • It’s about time somebody gave em something real • somebody give em something to feel • It’s about time somebody put em up on game – somebody stop rapping the same.

He’s basically addressing secular hip hop artists, telling them that their music lacks substance. It does nothing to instill good values within anyone who listens to their music. It's a challenge to them to start making stuff that will bless folk. He boldly uncovers the lie that God had anything to do with them writing their lyrics. I guess that address songs like "Jesus Walks" by Kanye West, hunh? It's about time somebody started speaking the truth, and that’s what Knine sets out to do with next 16 tracks.

The next track is “Brought Me From.” On this song Knine talks about some of his childhood experiences, things he thinks no child should have experienced. One thing he mentioned that stood out to me was when he stated that the Milwaukee Police Department, DEA, ATF and FBI were watching the drug activity going on within his house. Evidently there was a drug bust because he was embarrassed by his mother ending up on the news. Someone else was involved too, but you'll have to pick you up a copy of the album.

“Doin’t It’ is another flashback track in which Knine takes you back to his childhood. This one is more of a happy song because it talks about how good things were when you were a child. Every woman was your mother, riding bikes to the candy store, being in the house before the street light came on, house parties, playing spades and all of that! It took me back too, because my childhood was very similar. I appreciate this song a lot.

We then move on to “Dime,” a song in which Knine talks about personal struggles within his life as a Christian. It basically talks about how rich he would be if he had a dime for every time he messed up, repented, made promise he didn’t keep or what have you. That's not really the point he's making though. The real point is that he has not been perfect and is going though - from what I can tell - a Romans chapter 7 experience. We've all been there. This is really a strong desire to want to live holy. Guilt and condemnation try to come upon you, but thank God that there is no more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. No-one should continue in sin, but it’s good to know that God’s grace and mercy is always there to forgive us. That’s not implicitly the message conveyed by this song, but I would have that one could come to that conclusion for themselves though.

"It Don’t Matter” is a song I really like. One of the producers, Tony Stone, did his thing on this one. The beat is hot! The point conveyed is one that I can take to heart.

“It wouldn’t matter if you turned out the lights on me • take me to court and hang double life on me • Lock me down in a 5x11 like 24/7 • As long as I go to heave like Christ homie, it’s nothing!

This is how many Christians need to be in their heart and mind. They need to have the heart and mindset that says “come hell or high water, I’m sold out for Christ!” It’s encouraging to hear Knine on this piece because it lets me know that he’s sold out for the Lord. I can appreciate such raw artists who are sold out for the Lord.

Those who shun the prosperity message may not appreciate the next song, but I do. I believe that God is good and wants to bless His children. I believe He does put a distinction between His children and those who are not. He did that throughout the bible. Nevertheless, that’s what Knine is getting at on the song called “Automatic.” Are blessings automatic? Or do we have a part to play in it as well? Faith without works is dead. But I believe I know what Knine is saying on this one. He’s saying that he’s guaranteed success and abundance if he walks upright before the Lord, while doing what the Lord has assigned to his hands. That's just it, you're guaranteed (automatic) blessings if you are doing what God told you to do. Obedience brings blessings.

Can I say one thing? KNINE HAS A GOOD WIFE! And, yes, Knine, I have a wife like yours. There is nothing like a supportive wife who sees what God has placed inside of you. That’s the most encouraging thing in the world. Many times God tells you to do something and you don’t know exactly how it’s going to get done, or how it’s going to take off. During those times, it’s good to have a wife who understands the situation, ESPECIALLY IN TIMES WHEN MONEY IS LOW! I can’t stress that enough. I feel you Knine! He also talks about how he used to get stressed out with his kids when he was trying to write rhymes and would lock them out of his room. There was stress in the house for real! I see exactly where Knine was at that point in his life; wondering if things are going to work out; wondering if they understand that what you’re doing is not just for yourself, but also for them because you want to bring them a brighter future. Ultimately, you know that what you're doing is going to bless others! But the true mark of character is when you can still walk with integrity and in the love of Christ when times are rough, and when you still haven’t come into your “promised land.” Well, that’s when God and family are basically all you have. That’s why Knine says on the chorus,

So Glad to have you with me • We not Bonnie and Clyde not Bobby and Whitney • I thank God that you by my side • We’ll be together till the day we die.

“Never Alone” is a much needed track. With production by Rob Hodge, Knine brings Salt (from Salt N Pepa) and Lisa McClendon (Neo Soul queen) with him on this one. The song encourages ladies to not lose focus and lose themselves in a man. Why? Because with God you’re “never alone.” Salt spits on this verse saying,

It doesn’t matter who comes and goes in your life • You put the Lord in control of your life when he’s holding you tight • You gone feel it • cause it’s a hole in your soul ain’t a man on the globe gone fill it.

I have a question for you... did crack come to your city? It came to mine! It came to Knine’s too (Knine, did you grow up with me, man???). Unfortunately, it took over a lot of folk that I knew. I remember it like it was yesterday. One day the city was pretty much clean, but then I started hearing terms like “crack head,” “rocks,” "crack pipe" and all of that. Before I got saved, I even entered into the game for a minute. But before that, I started hearing stories of people robbing their own families, losing their jobs, spending whole paychecks and other horrible stories. This is what this song is all about. Lisa McClendon joins Knine on this one too. This song is actually kind of sad to hear because it causes you to think of all of the people who have lost their lives or livelihood as a result of crack. You also think of all of the families that were destroyed as a result. Thank God that they can be delivered from any bondage through Jesus Christ! As Knine says at the very end of the song,

If you got a loved one in that situation, man, just pray for em. Put it in God's hands.

I feel him on that one. I have a cousin who has been battling with this demon for years. I've ministered Christ to him and all of that. It's been about 15 years or more now. All I can do is pray for him.

I was in the ride and “Better Place” came on. My daughter made a very good observation saying, “Everybody is using children in their songs now.” She was right! It seems like that is a growing trend now with, both, Christian and secular artists. Anyway, I like this song. It opens up with a little boy asking,

“Knine, where’s the club?” 
Knine responds, “The club? Man, there’s clubs every where.” 
The boy says, “Well can you take me?”
“Man, you too young to get in the club.”
“Maaan!!!” the boy says in disappointment.
“But I know some place better – listen.”

Knine then begins to talk about hopes and dreams, and ultimately heaven. This is a song that can certainly be played to your youth groups and your kids. It’s very uplifting to hear. I really like the beat to this one too. A harmonica? LOL. I don’t think I’ve heard one of those on a hip hop song ever, but it's cool. It made me feel right at home though, being that I’m from the south! Nah, I don't get down with harmonicas like that. LOL.

There are plenty more tracks on this album, with one of my favorites being “Switch.” But you’ll have to go get the album if you want to know anything else about particular songs. I wouldn’t dare want to ruin your experience. 

The overall feeling I get from this album is that Knine is a young man just like many of us. He has frustrations, disappointments, hurts, pains, highs, lows, self-esteem issues and all. Yes, that’s why God is there. He’s in no way trying to give the persona that he is a perfect servant of the Lord, but he isn’t someone who isn’t trying to live right either. This walk must be walked with determination daily. It’s all in renewing the mind. As one person I know put it, “When you learn better, you do better.” I feel that’s what Knine has shown on this album – that he has grown from his experiences, and, man-oh-man has he had some.

The whole album can be summed up in this one verse from "Brought Me From,"

I hate to rap about drugs and guns, but man look where he brought me from

Go cop the album! 

Tony Stone – great job dude!

 

 Track Listing
1. Bout Time
2. Brought Me From
3. Dime
4. It Don't Matter
5. Automatic
6. So Glad
7. Never Alone feat. Lisa McClendon
8. Doin It
9. Crack Came feat. Lisa McClendon
10. Better Place
11. Switch
12. These Eyes
13. Lazy
14. Dear Cuz
15. I Don't Love You (Interview, Pt. 2)
16. Work Out Fine
17. In My Shoes

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