How I Feel About The Expanding Christian Hip-Hop Movement

Tupac and Biggie, Eminem, Andre 3000, Nas and Jay-Z. As far as I can remember, I’ve always loved Hip-Hop music.

I grew up in St. Louis and the music genre of choice was usually Hip-Hop. I listened to it before football games, before work, in the car, after school, almost incessantly. Hip-Hop makes my soul leap. It gives me goosebumps, inspires and motivates, and even helps with grief. The punch lines, the wordplay, the metaphors, the passion, the beat — to me, it’s the best. When that “one part” in the song hits, It’s almost like I forget about everything else.

When I became a Christian, though, things changed. My desires shifted. How I viewed my body, money, women, and my life altered. The same rap lyrics I once loved I now viewed differently. Let’s be honest: much of the secular (for lack of a better word) rap content is contrary to the things of God. But even though I do not advocate nor agree with what many of them say, I do occasionally listen to it. And though I don’t admire them in the sense that I would want to be like them, I do admire their skill-set and can’t help but recognize it. It’s a gift from God. It’s total common grace.

Then I tried listening to some “Christian Rap.” And man, was it terrible.

One Psalmist tells us to “play skilfully” (Psalm 33:3). It doesn’t matter if we are Christian Artists; if we are not skillful, maybe we should consider doing something else. Don’t use “I want to do this for the Lord’s glory” as an excuse for incompetence. Get honest feedback from fellow Artists and examine the fruitfulness your work brings. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be competent. Because we don’t simply need more Christian Artists, but rather more skillful Christian Artists.

Moreover, though I was off to a rough start, things got better as my search for skillful, Christ-exalting Hip-Hop continued.

Someone introduced me to Lecrae. And that’s when “my whole life changed.”

Soon thereafter, I heard Trip Lee. Then The Ambassador. Then it was Shai Linne and Tedashii and This’l and J’Son. And now, its people like Jackie Hill, people like Andy Mineo, people like Derek Minor.

The list seems to go on and on. There are many outstanding record labels like Reach Records, Lampode, and Humble Beast. I’ve been to many of these Hip-Hop concerts. I met and prayed for Lecrae once. I just got back from Winterjam a few weeks ago. I see the tweets, the record sales, the blogs. Most importantly, from my view (a small view), I see the impact. From across the globe, I’m seeing and hearing and listening to stories of thousands of Christians all-over the world with a passion for Hip-Hop music who are being changed and greatly inspired to love God and love people more all because of the music. Sanctification is happening. A passion for revival is stirring. People in the urban context are relating like they’ve never related before. For the good of people and the glory of God, this music and these Artists are influencing many to become more like Jesus and share Jesus with others, and for that I can’t help but feel a deep, real, and satisfying sense of gratitude. That’s what I feel. I am so grateful to God for the Artists he is raising up, and the lives he is changing.

 

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20 thoughts on “How I Feel About The Expanding Christian Hip-Hop Movement

  1. Christianity and hip-hop actually seem to me like a … ahem … match made in heaven! It just works on many levels and is a great balance to the more superficial end of the hip-hop spectrum.

  2. Agreed! I love Lecrae and Andy Mineo. Christian rap used to be super cheesy and I was embarrassed for the artist but now there is real talent and passion to reach people through rap music.

  3. What seems to be the most difficult transition from “secular” hip-hop (and many other genres) to Christian hip-hop, is the transition from self-focus lyrics, to Gospel-focused lyrics. In that light, the Christian artists mentioned here have some truly powerful songs. May the Lord continue to bless them with a platform to unashamedly preach (sing/rap/share) the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.

  4. There was a time I thought Christian rap was cheesy but grateful that there’s now guys who are solid doctrinally and sanctified with talented musically!

  5. This is a great write up on Christian Hip/Hop! Personally, I’ve always been a huge metal fan. Death, Black, Grunge, Screamo, you name it! The problem I found was while there were many “Christian” bands, none of them seemed upfront. Well that’s not totally true. Sleeping Giant, Saving Grace, and For Today are very good and upfront lyrically. But over all, it was just a title and the music was bland!

    Then I heard Lecrae. It was the first time I heard lyrics that were not only upfront, but theological as well! I was hooked!!! Right now KB is my favorite though! If you haven’t heard his latest record and EP, it’s pretty epic!

    My point is that these guys and gals in the new Christian Hip/Hop arena are not just pulling “secular” Hip/Hop audiences but audiences from all genres, due to their unwavering loyalty to the King of Kings! I really hope this begins to blend into the other genres of Christian music.

    It’s epic because they’re fearless for the cause of Christ!!!

  6. I’ve given this much thought over the years being confronted by the issue on many occasions and I can find no peace in music that carries that much of the sound of the world. I ask myself the question, “Would the people that make these recordings be able to perform them like they do, before Christ Jesus?” The passage comes to mind, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2nd Corinthians 6:17)

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