Christian Hip-Hop Lyrically Throwing Stones?
Published on April 17, 2009
A child has a dream, teen pursues the dream, and an adult achieves the dream; they acquire a record deal to create music for the world to hear. There’s one task left to complete, one last line to cross; the world must listen. This is the challenge faced by an untold number of artists. However from the world’s inception to this present day only a select few have overcame the odds and performed on a global platform as the world patiently listened. In order to ensure clarity let me say that many artists have been heard by the world, but only to a few has the world listened. When we “listen”, the artist’s message reaches down to our innermost being, stirring our hearts producing a fitting response from us.
Artists within the hip-hop genre have marked many sleepless nights towards mastering their craft. They tirelessly create crisper beats, smoother flows, smarter hooks, and stronger stage presences. After years of patiently waiting, when they feel that the time is right, they boldly stand before the world and perform. Still the best of our artists have merely entertained the world and became background music to the world’s progression. For all our style, our substance, our “swagger”, we fail to truly move the world. You might say hip-hop was never meant for the world, but for the “urban world”, for the oppressed, the ridiculed, and the impoverished. Well, then I ask isn’t hip-hop about change and progression? Can there really be change and progression for the oppressed, ridiculed and impoverished if we do not reach the oppressors, ridiculers and um, impoverishers (I didn’t spell that wrong, I created a new word)?
I believe there is one element that will effectively turn the world’s ear to an artist’s message. This element is the one detail overlooked by hip-hop. Most artists actually lose this element as they hone the skills in the known elements. The element is humility or meekness.
This week my attention was compellingly redirected and my focus was captured by two humble individuals. I am sure that you know them. I’m confident that you’ve heard them. And I’m sure positive that you’ve listened. You might be thinking the names already, Susan Boyle and Paul Potts, two unimposing individuals, one new to all and the other new to some. However in recent days Youtube videos of Susan Boyle, a 2009 competitor on Britain’s Got Talent, and through comparison Paul Potts, the 2007 Winner have gone viral on the internet.
The world has watched and listened as these minor figures almost magically transform into powerful and passionate stars right before our eyes. However we watch not because of their amazing voices but due to the unbelievable humility we see emanating from them as they perform.
Matthew 5:5 says “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Christians know this scripture by heart. We know that when Christ returns we will receive the earth. But have you ever though that right now, this very moment, the earth is here for the meek to take.
As Christ ascended into heaven He entrusted us with a mission to go and teach all nations; to teach the world; the entire earth. And we are currently carrying out this mission. Holy Hip-Hop artists are humbly going out and preaching the gospel. However as I said earlier the world has still not listened. Well if we are being meek why then are we not receiving the world’s attention? It is true that HHH artists are quite humble when they go to minister, right up to the point when they open their mouths. I’ve noticed that specifically when we talk about the secular world, and their representatives such as rappers, drug dealers, strippers, even murderers it is most common to hear us aggressively accusing, confronting and attacking them. And I must admit even as I am writing this article that I myself have often enjoyed listening to tracks when we call out secular rappers and gangsters. I laugh as we call them lames, frauds, stupid or suckas. I rewind tracks and memorize bars when our emcees lyrically slay them. Christians are entertained but is this feeling shared by our secular listeners?
Harpers Bible Dictionary defines the word meek as “the quality characteristic of humility when coupled with gentleness. The meek person not only does not threaten or challenge others but accepts others openly and confidently. Let that sink in for a moment, the meek person does not threaten or challenge others.” Numbers 12:3 says “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth”. In Matthew 12:9 Jesus says “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Were not both Moses and Jesus at one point or another aggressive towards men? I will say that they were aggressive towards men that chose in their right minds to stand against God, but towards the lost they showed compassion. Did not Moses plead with God to spare the Israelites after they worshipped the golden calf? Did not Jesus tell the woman caught in adultery that he did not condemn her? Pausing at the story of the woman caught in adultery Jesus said something I think is very relevant with a greater application than we usually give to it. To the woman’s accusers he said “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” We all know that Jesus then went on to write the accusers’ sins in the ground and those accusers left one by one.
I ask, are the secular rappers, drug dealers, strippers, and even murderers directly opposing God in their right minds, or are they simply among the lost? When we stand on platforms and mock these people’s actions are we not lyrically throwing stones at them? Who among us is without sin, and is therefore qualified to throw a stone at a sinner? Finally, would we continue our lyrical assault on these individuals if Jesus started to write our past sins on the floor in front of us, or would we leave in shame?
My mind travels now to the rapper Cassidy who has professed that he is now a Christian. In the past we had no desire for him but now we’re praying for him and telling to be encouraged in the Lord. Can our new attitude be perceived as hypocritical instead of loving?
Christians I believe we have meek personalities, hearts and natures. However I am starting to realize that true meekness transcends beyond mere demeanor and extends into our very words and actions. I believe that when we are truly meek and preach to the lost of the world without any measure of threatening or challenging the world will then truly listen and sincerely respond.
To conclude, I wrote this article with no assumption that I knew something that you did not. These words are simply the thoughts placed on my heart. I would like to hear your thoughts. Should all HHH artists stop calling secular people lames and frauds. Should they stop speaking to the presupposed final damnation of these people? Should they just always rap saying Jesus loves you and he wants you to come home? I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts and ideas.
Written by: Church Boy