Read This Before Condemning Christian Rap

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A couple of months ago, my fellow penman here at GUG, Shawn Bain, wrote an article titled “Read This Before condemning Christian Metal” If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you read the article. Personally, I enjoyed it so much I felt I should do the same for Christian Rap.

So here are some things you need to know before condemning Christian Rap.

 

It Shows Unity In Christ

“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:3

One thing Christian Hip-Hop (CHH) has done well is show unity among each other. It is a stark contrast to that of secular rap when it is not uncommon to see other rappers have public disagreements or “beefs” with each other. A way you can see the unity in this genre is with the way rappers in the Christian community are featured on other rappers’ songs who aren’t part of their own label. A perfect song that displays the unity in CHH was released on Swoope’s album, “Sinema”. The title of the track, “Same Team”, shows what it’s really all about.

Versatility

Another thing I’ve always admired about rap is its versatility. It’s done very differently compared to other forms of music. I love Hillsong United. Arguably, this band is one of my favorite music artists in history. When I listen to them and other artists who produce beautiful songs, I know I won’t hear Hillsong do a song about a girl struggling with their body image, or being delivered from a life of addiction, or struggling with same sex attraction.

Christian rap artists have written songs about those topics and much more. They have also made songs that have worked well with artists such as Hillsong. If I have to pick one piece I appreciate, that shows a small inkling of the versatility of Christian Rap, I could use “Greater City” by the rapper Thi’sl. This song uses a sample of Chris Tomlin’s “God of this City”.

Tomlin’s song is great for what it was meant for, but Thi’sl uses it to bring it closer to home for people who come from tough neighborhoods.

Healthy Alternative

Marcus Gray, better known as FLAME, helped shape the Christian Rap community to what it is today.

This one hits me the hardest. I enjoy rap very much. I have listened to the music since the early 90’s. I listened to the legends of the industry.

Then I got saved.

I tried to stop listening to secular rap, but I couldn’t. I wanted to give Christian rap a try, but for some reason, I just couldn’t fully commit to the genre. I listened to Cross Movement a lot; they were my favorite Christian Music group period. I would still listen to secular rap, and I feel that it hindered my relationship with God.

The secular rappers talk about money, women, drugs, and violence, and I wanted no part of that. But beats of the music kept drawing me. I prayed and prayed to stop listening to that trash. Then 2008 came… And God answered my prayers. It started with the release of “Our World Redeemed” by FLAME.

This album was so important to me, because it proved once and for all that not only can Christian Rap sound good, but sound better than secular rap.

Late that same year, Lecrae released “Rebel”. This album showed me not only was I aware of what was happening in the CHH community, but the world was starting to notice. So yes, I think 2008 was the year Christian Rap became the healthy alternative for Christian Hip-Hop heads like me. It let me enjoy the type of beats I grew up with my whole life, while helping me grow in my walk with Jesus Christ.

 

The Messages

I briefly touched on this, but I can dive a little deeper now. Yes, we all know this world likes to enjoy sin. Go on iTunes, and look at the top songs and albums. You’ll see the word “explicit” all over the place. It’s getting to the point where I don’t know if the songs can get any lower. I can’t say the same in CHH.

Even when the songs aren’t obviously Christian, you can still feel the love of Christ more often than not in some tracks. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I have looked at a song and was confused on the artist’s intentions, but that is a rarity.

What I can say is if you do stumble across an artist, and they do have a song that you feel the message isn’t pointing to God, before you condemn the artist, ask around. The message of that song could have went over your head, or you might not have experiences with that particular message.

I hope these four reasons of why you shouldn’t condemn Christian Hip-Hop will help you enjoy the genre for that it’s worth. I know hip-hop isn’t for everybody, but I promise you, if you look hard enough, there is at least one Christian rap song that you will like.

 

Have any thoughts on Christian Rap? Criticisms? Concerns? Let your voice be heard below in the comments section.

 

Mike Pyatt

Michael Pyatt Jr is a young, laid back, Christian from Washington, DC. His pleasures in life include his family, friends, his church, and spending time with God. While Michael seems to have a lot of knowledge in a lot of areas, the two areas where he shows the most passion is music, and sports. When he's not focusing on work, and studying IT at the University of the District of Columbia, he likes producing musical tracks. While his music may be mainly hip-hop, he doesn't mind creating other types of music.

7 Comments

  1. Brandon McNeal on February 1, 2015 at 4:32 am

    Dope article.

  2. Michael M. on January 5, 2015 at 1:53 am

    Great stuff Mike! Loved the article, good stuff. I agree with all the points. I like that song See More Him, I have that one on my playlist. Such a good song, so powerful. To me it’s like a prayer more than a rap song. Flame is fire, saw him live last year with V. Rose and This’l and KB Blackout Tour here in Miami.

    Keep the rap stuff coming, always good to see someone else’s perspective.

  3. Shawn Bain on January 5, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Thank you for mentioning me and my article in this, Mike. You did a great job on this article! I know we had a lot of fans that wanted an article like this. You gave solid points.

  4. Maurice Pogue on January 4, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    A family friend exposed me to Christian Rap right before Lecrae had released _Rebel_. He was on Da T.R.U.T.H. and the 116 Clique. I’m pleased that you posed Sho Baraka as a feature video. He’s my favorite even though he’s mal-aligned lately because he dropped some truth bombs that even Christians didn’t want to hear in _Talented X_.

    Anyway, what disturbs me about mainstream Christian music–if not pisses me off–is that Tomlin, Hillsong, Group 1 Crew, the Newsboys, etc., don’t speak to the kind of stuff where we really need Christ. I’m not a fan of Thi’sl’s style, but where else besides Christian rap are we going to hear about women giving up their bodies for trinkets or fathers in prison?

    There’s a lot of other complex stuff behind the scenes concerning the pervasiveness/insidiousness of rap, but I’ll save that for another day.

    • Rob M. on January 4, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to throw some of those artists out there–at the very least not Tomlin and Hillsong. While I’ll admit that I don’t listen to much of them outside of church (or occasionally on Pandora), I always took those two as being more worship oriented. If that’s the case, then it would make sense that they aren’t addressing social issues and other areas where we need Christ, because they are instead focused on worshiping Him for Who He is. Now we can get into other areas such as depth of lyrics and musical complexity that provide for a whole different area of debate, but as far as lyrical content I just don’t think speaking to social issues is what they’re in the game for. I won’t speak for the others you mentioned because I’m even less familiar with them–in fact, I’ve never even heard of Group 1 Crew.

  5. Steven Kuhn II on January 4, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I really enjoyed this article so thank you for posting Mike.

    I have found a few artists, Propaganda in particular to be just brilliant. There are other Christian rappers that, once I gave them a chance, proved to me that rap is not crap, like so many of old friends used to say, it is just another genre of music that like any genre of music can be used to praise the Lord. I have though found that I personally have to be careful what Christian Rock and particularly metal and rap I listen to because so much of it seems to make me feel angry.

    Cant say enough good things about some of Heath Mcnease’s work and Propaganda’s though.

    • Michael M. on January 5, 2015 at 1:28 am

      Heath McNease did a Nintendo remix album or something like that, pretty cool. Called Straight Outta Console

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