Christian Rap and the Church
I was born in the 70’s. Hip Hop music was on the scene and on the rise. By the time I was in High School, it had become a national phenomenon, from Cali to New York, and even in the South, in Texas. Ghetto Boys, Master P, DMX, B.I.G., Tupac, Puff Daddy (aka, Sean Combs, P-Diddy), Mase, Snoop Dog, Ice Cube, and Busta Rhymes were just a few of the well-known artists at that time.
Hip Hop music was (and is) the sound of many in my generation. Hip Hop music was all that I listened to growing up. But when the Lord Jesus saved and called me to preach, that changed…at least for a little while. As I grew in Jesus, I began to see how the lyrics of the secular rap songs I was listening to didn’t line up with God’s Word. And so I made a decision to throw away all of my cassette tapes (yes, I said cassette tapes) and CDs. I needed to make a clean break with it. My parents were somewhat shocked when I told them my plans to discard all of my secular rap, but they supported me.
So with that, I began to make my way into traditional and contemporary Christian music. Now I wasn’t a total neophyte. After all I was “raised” in the church. So I knew some of the hymns, and popular quartet and mass choir songs. I was rocking to Kirk Franklin, and I even took a listen to DC Talk. Much of it I liked and was edified by it. In all honesty though, I still liked rap music because it just resonated with me. I loved the rhyming, the creativity, the lyrical metaphors and analogies, the beats and the bass. And yet I didn’t want to go back to what I had left because much of it was sinful. What was I to do?
Enter in Gospel Gangstas, a Christian rap group made up of former gang members from Compton and South Central, LA.
When I got a hold of their 1995/96 album, Do or Die, I was elated to know that there was a viable, God-honoring, Jesus-exalting alternative to the secular rap music that I grew up on, and from that day on I have been a staunch advocate of quality, theologically sound Christian rap music.
I am excited to see the Lord Jesus raise up Christian rap artists to make music that glorifies him and seeks to speak truth to culture, pastors and leaders to plant churches in urban areas all around this nation, and ministries to encourage and support the former and to train the latter.
One such ministry is The Rebuild Initiative. Check out their video below entitled, “The Blessedness of Hip Hop.”
May the Lord Jesus continue to use this medium to get His message out to the masses!