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A friend of mine runs a fairly successful youth conference in Rhode Island. When they need some ideas about who to get for music sometimes they call me. After having Lecrae in for the conference last year and being unable to book Trip Lee last year, they asked me about potential artists for this year. Immediately, and rather enthusiastically, I said "you gotta book Trip!" He responded with "He's not accepting bookings for April. All I could think to say was "HUH?!? This is how he gets eats! Why would he turn down...oh well...moving on." It all made more sense when I heard Trip Lee announce that he was "stepping away" from music.
In plain English, that means he retired. In the midst of what is probably his highest selling album, on the cusp of what is sure to be the highest grossing Christian hip-hop (or rappers who are Christian or whatever we call it) tour, basically in the prime of his career one of the highest selling and most popular artists in the scene retires. Cue the Barry Sanders references. And like most people when Barry retired, we all thought the same thing "he'll be back, right? I mean, what's he going to do?" Similarly we think the same thing about Trip's musical retirement don't we? "He'll be back, right? I mean what's he going to do?"
Well, apparently one of the things he's going to do is write books. And for his debut book, its a pretty dope start. I wasn't so sure at the outset though. When I started reading the book I was concerned. See, I'm one of those people that will actually read the intro of a book and not just jump to the first chapter and plainly, the intro wasn't that great. It seemed rushed and stated far too plainly what the reader was to expect. No intrigue, no suspense, not much of the style you'd expect from an accomplished rapper. Then I began reading chapter one and instantly thought "Oh, so this may not stink after all."
And it didn't. In fact, it did more than just not stink - it excelled in ways I didn't anticipate. Stylistically, it excelled because of his use of storytelling and analogies. It was FAR less pure didactic preaching and it was more like Trip was sitting on the steps with you talking about a new way of life. I even reached the point where as I read I started hearing Trip's voice in a conversational tone as I read it.
The content of the book was solid without being overly heavy. While dealing with weighty issues and reshaping the readers worldview, he still managed to navigate the issues of the faith without bogging us down with information and intellectual jargon. He writes to get his point across in everyday terms and moves on. Admittedly, sometimes that leads to an occasional disjointed paragraph because it seemed as if he made a point and just jumped to the next but its not enough to take away from the thrust of the book.
With all of that said, my recommendation is, this book is something you should purchase. If you're new to the faith - buy it. If you are in the faith but are struggling to see it with a proper framework - buy it. If you know someone like that, buy 2 and read through it with them. You'll find your faith strengthened and theirs will be established.
For me (I'm speaking from a pastor's perspective on this one), the biggest let down was that this book didn't come with a study guide. Ideally, this book is best served being read through and discussed with a group of people. A young adult / youth small group, new believers group, groups of people in detention centers or juvenile correctional centers - these are all people who would benefit greatly from this book in that way. I'm hearing that is something that is coming soon. I hope so because churches and leaders and the people that follow them would be impacted GREATLY if they do it.
So will Trip Lee come back to music? Will he be back? I don't know. Indicators say no. But if The Good Life book is an indicator of what's ahead then he won't need to come back to music because his books will be just as good - if not better. Go cop The Good Life now.
Get a paperback copy of the 'The Good Life' book here or the Kindle Edition here.