It took me a week to write this. Inside I struggled between what I experienced and what I knew about hip-hop. Although I wanted to post a headline like “Next Big Movement in Christianity,” I couldn’t do it. Instead I kept asking myself this simple question: “What’s really going on?”
It all happen when I attended a local Christian hip-hip concert. The chilly evening started with brief rehearsals from local Christian rap groups, Tongues of Fire and Holy Bros (Du2ce also made an arrival). Beats soon blasted from the large speakers and filled the Chino Hills high school gym.
Nearby swimmers probably thought Lil’ Wayne or Drake entered the building, but that didn’t happen. Inside were Christian artists preparing to take over the blue, filled with bass and shuffling, stage. Soon the Christian rappers performed like any rappers. But something was different.
From the top of the stairway, the atmosphere seemed alive and popping. In my mind all I thought about was the lyrics. These guys weren’t rapping about smoking weed, getting drunk or hooking up with women. Instead they were rhyming about Bible passages and being legit Christians.
It was hard to take in their message. Beyond their hip-hop attire burst their zeal to convert these teens into Christians like them. On one hand, we have hip-hop, and on the other we have Christianity. It’s a blend of fresh beats with overly Christian lyrics.
Can these two realties exists together? If you didn’t think so then you may want to listen to a Christian hip-hop song or even a music video. I do understand what these artists are doing. It’s just difficult to watch and listen to Christian hip-hop without being a bit confused.
From an average hip-hop perspective this type of music sounds similar to what’s played on mainstream radio. The same goes for the appearance and performance. The difference though is what Christian rappers believe.
God and hip-hop
They wear their beliefs on their sleeves, like rappers wear their expensive chains on their neck. They also live with a devoted purpose to make God and His Word the center of what they do. They are not in it for the money either, which is a good thing.
The problem though is the identity crisis of Christian hip-hop. Can a Christian rapper maintain swag (look cool) and be humble like Jesus at the same time? Can he sound cocky, but still rap about biblical ideas like love, humility and kindness?
Whether they rap about Jesus or concepts about Him, I know people will always criticize. Despite this, good music will always be recognized. That is why image and message must be communicated correctly. Churches may not embrace it, and the radio may not play it, but if it reaches teenagers then whose to say it isn’t relevant?