Recently, I had a phone conversation with a cat who I would consider quite thorough in Christian hip hop. Even though we had just met, I could tell there weren’t too many C.H.H. artists that he wasn’t familiar with. He knew most of the sites/the lingo and could even recite lyrics by Lecrae (yeah I know most people can recite Lecrae by now, but stay with me). He was pretty much what I would call “deep rooted”…a cool dude. As we talked, I could picture him in a fitted cap, jersey, a pair of ones and I-phone in hand, texting or tweeting away (not during the conversation, just on a regular). He would share his testimony with me and as the conversation progressed, he mentioned he was a police officer. I’m like “yeah that’s cool.” We’d continue to talk, but my mind was like “Whoa, hold up Shine. Did he just say I’m a cop?” Those weren’t his exact words, but that’s how it registered in my mind. Though it wasn’t a flat out negative reaction, for slight second it just didn’t compute. It’s funny but thoughts do race through your mind like, “Did I pay all my tickets…I shouldn’t have any warrants… my tags haven’t expired…” all in that instant. Then I wanted to say,
“But you’re so thorough in the game…”
“You’re accepted in the culture…”
“You know most of the songs…”
“You dress like us…”
“You wear fitted caps…”
Not realizing that for a brief moment, I ran up against a wall in my thinking. Now I’ve been saved since 97’ and 12 years is a pretty decent amount of time to have had your mind renewed in certain areas. Plus, even though I came up in the secular arena, I’ve never really had too many run-ins with the law (don’t front a lot of us haven’t). So for him to say “I’m a cop and I love holy hip hop” revealed a wall or an obstacle in my thinking that I had encountered. Now I’m thinking, “How did that get there?” Cops loving holy hip hop – why not?
I’m reminded of a 1990’s television series on Fox, called “New York Undercover” where two officers Det. Eddie Torres and Det. J.C. Williams were assigned to go undercover on various cases throughout the N.Y. most of them being within the urban community. You could’ve considered these cats as being “accepted” in the secular culture. They dressed the part, talked the part, and even hung out in some of the hot spots. These were “cool cops”. That’s at least until a line had to be drawn in the sand with the law on one side and the law breaker on the other. This was a rare glimpse of a cop in the hip hop community, shown positive. The unfortunate thing is that police officers have played a major role in the culture, but it’s rarely been shown in a better light. Most of the time, their authority is portrayed as something we fear, rebel against, or refuse to trust. So if the role of the police officer is somewhat frowned upon in the secular rap game, what about holy hip hop? A lot of us have come from these same communities, where the “police officer” was someone who stood between us and making money so we could eat. In some cases, even though we may not have been directly involved in any illegal activity, this stereotype was still branded in our thinking and we may have absorbed certain prejudices. Are they still there?
As much as I love the culture, I hate to say that we’ve been imprisoned in our thinking and a lot of it has spilled over into our walk with Christ. Whether blatant or subtle, the enemy wants to imprison us within “walls” he tries to construct in our thinking. The Bible refers to these walls as “strongholds”. A stronghold was a fortification used to protect and keep danger out, but if it fell into the wrong hands, it could’ve easily been used to imprison. Everything around us whether in our environment, culture, families, or media all construct walls within our thinking, some good and some not so. The important thing is to determine who’s behind the building project. Is the Satan the architect at work or is Christ creating a new structure in which he tears down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive… (Ok, I’ll slow up). Hip hop in itself is interesting because it’s always been quite welcoming of some things more than others.
Gender- men and women could spit
Race– all races are accepted
Income– Rich or poor you were welcome
Location– your part of the globe didn’t matter
Age– cats are still going hard in their 40’s
Oh, and did I forget a bunch of sin.
(These things may enter)
But the culture has always kept a wall up to keep out Godly principles and values, like positive role models, faithfulness to your spouse, loving the Lord, having integrity, etc. These things are not permitted to enter and if they are, most likely won’t be displayed.
(Eph 2:14) Talks about a “wall of hostility” that was once between the Jews and the Gentiles that Christ has broken down, “creating within himself one new people.” (Gal 3:27) says “we’ve put on Christ like new clothes. There is no longer Jew or gentile, slave or free, male or female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Simply put, the Kingdom is much bigger than any culture that has ever existed, where occupation, race, gender, age, etc doesn’t matter. We are all one in Christ for we have taken off our titles and put on the uniform of Christ as we’ve entered the gates. Seeing a cop in a fitted cap worshiping the Lord at a holy hip hop venue should be the norm. First we’ve got to tear down these negative walls, so we can continue 2 build…Written by Shine firstname.lastname@example.org