Culture vs. Culture

Culture

Recently, a friend of mine, Micah Winnberg, sent me a song. This wasn’t anything new, as my friends send me songs all the time, but the song itself was special. What first caught my attention was the thumbnail- the song’s writer was covered in tattoos and piercings. And, since 99% of my musical diet consists of Christian music, I was rather apprehensive. That level of body change often screams a disgusting artist. I had no idea how wrong I would be.

I knew absolutely nothing about the two artists in the song. This gave me zero expectations, since I had no clue what to expect. I trust my friend, so I knew he couldn’t have sent me junk, but perhaps this was a mistake. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

The song is called “Blame the Rappers”, and it features two artists: Tom MacDonald and DAX. Although it is no longer trending, it peaked at #13 in the YouTube trending list, garnering over 1 million views in two days. Quite good for a small-time rapper who’s best video hasn’t topped 15 million.

This song, on the other hand, deserves to go viral. Written by a man with so many piercings and tattoos that he could probably set a world record, it goes completely against the culture that has so obviously influenced him. Tom and DAX rap about the problems with the rap genre, something I completely relate to. Tom starts off the song by saying this.

[Tom MacDonald:]
I’m a rapper but I’m losing my respect for the genre
How many songs about Xanax and alcohol are we dropping?
How many kids we gonna kill ‘for we admit it’s a problem?
Probably stop if was one of our sons or one of our daughters
We know our demographic is primarily youth
We glorify breaking the law to children in school
Kids copy what we say and imitate what we do
They’ll go to jail for doing the things you told em was cool
We put women in our videos, exploiting their bodies
While little girls around the world look at they phone while they watch it
They need a realistic role model, not just a Barbie
They see strippers and escorts but no lawyers or doctors
Hey Hip-Hop, what the [expletive] happened?
It was power to the people, and we liked that stuff
These days you’re promoting that it’s fun to be an addict, so I’m askin, how could you write that bruh?

This verse doesn’t just go against rap as a whole, it goes against the entire musical culture. As he and DAX will point out later in the song, every “normal” music video in today’s music must have immodestly dressed women dancing around a pole, men driving Lamborghinis or other expensive cars, and over 100 curse words in a single verse. Otherwise, it seems, the song will not be considered “cool”.

DAX follows this up with his own radical verse.

Making music is a privilege and choice
And if you ever get to be successful you must understand the people that you influence are swayed by what you say and that melodies you sing make wings, build dreams, and fill voids
We are medication straight through voice
Some give life, and some destroy
And even though this money seems nice it can’t come so we must take as hint that there’s other things in life you should enjoy
We move mountains
We cross states
We play roles in presidential debates
So don’t you try and tell me making music is for fun and you don’t care about the things that our music help make
Man I know I’m not perfect
But I’ll change
I’m the outcome of this world and my pain
And this music is pills and I promise this dose that you take won’t make you say

DAX reminds the viewers that music is a gift, and we are not to take it for granted as so many artists do. In a way quite reminiscent of NF, he says what music really is to him- an outlet. The outlet is powerful, he says, and has the potential to move mountains, so be careful what you say and do.

Finally, Tom comes back and deals a deathblow to pop culture with his final verse.

I’m a rapper but I swear that I’m embarrassed
Half of these artists can’t even talk, they just mumble the lyrics
And the teenagers listen while they rebel from their parents
While the rappers tell ’em pop a pill, buy Gucci and wear it
We say [expletive] the police, break the rules, smoke weed
Buy some shoes you don’t need, rep the hood and yo street
All these rappers holdin’ guns and now the kids want some
Mess around and kill they homie, you can’t clean that blood
We encourage being stupid with our music, and we’re normalizing poor morals standard while we do it
Little boys see the way that the women look in our videos and assume it’s real-life, project that image onto little girls
It’s un-realistic, if you’re young and you listen, you are one in a million, you are loved, you are different
Hey Hip-Hop, I know life moves on
But while I’m here, how could you write that, dawg?

This verse quite literally took my breath away. Tom, an unbeliever, raps verses that sound like something straight out of a Lecrae song. His partner, DAX, is apparently a Christian, but very little of his music sounds like this.In fact, he sounds like an African-American version of NF, and Tom sounds like a white version of Lecrae. Furthermore, these men are not only confronting the normal standards of pop culture, but they also confront the moral standards. In fact, Tom’s final lines hit the hardest as he speaks directly into the heart of the broken children around the world- “you are loved, you are different.” What Biblical truths! No matter what the world tells you, you are loved. Even the most remote hermit with no family and no contact with the outside world is loved, because God loves everyone, everywhere, with a never-stopping, never-ending, always-present and unconditional love.

As one present in two cultures, the video shocked me as well. Two men, heavily influenced by the culture they rap about, rap against the cultural norm. They don’t seem to do it out of desire for attention. Instead, they actually seem to mean what they say. When Tom raps his third-to-last line, telling children around the world that they are loved and special, he says it with more heart then any suicide-prevention worker.

Many of us can relate with going against the cultural norm. We often do this on a daily basis. The danger, however, is found when we fail to realize how much culture influences us and how little we notice. As a Christian, I am actually called to go against the cultural norm. After all, we aren’t of this world. Our home is in a different place, a place where culture has no meaning and people of every tongue, tribe and nation will bow the knee and sing “Holy, Holy, Holy, are you, Lord.”

“Our home is in a different place, a place where culture has no meaning and people of every tongue, tribe and nation will bow the knee and sing ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, are you, Lord.'”

Alright, that’s all for today. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, make sure to click that Follow button below (or to the side). Then, when I release new posts like this, you’ll get notified. Thanks again, and I hope you have a fantastic day!

Shoutout to Micah Winnberg for inspiring this post. Micah, you’re awesome.

Note: the following song has a few expletives, watch at your own discretion. I do not condone or endorse the activities of the song’s writers. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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30 thoughts on “Culture vs. Culture

  1. micah winnberg

    thank for doing this man! great post. DAX does get a bit more attention than Tom does, but i believe that they both deserve a lot more than he does. DAX is a christian, his situation is a bit of a different one, but is nonetheless a believer. Not sure about Tom. Love this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karl Bickerstaff

    I don’t listen to most new music, but I know what it’s about. Hats off to these guys.
    This is one reason I love The Piano Guys–they don’t have anything inappropriate in their videos. And they’re Mormons, so it’s unlikely they every will. I don’t agree with their theology, but their music is beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Timoth

        KB is good too. I would listen to them(KB, NF) more but I can’t focus on school when the music has words so I wind up listening to classical instead. It is a great substitute. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome post, thanks for sharing!!! I think it’s cool how there are some artists these day, that look like just your average artists (drawing more people in) , but they sing differently and change more people in a positive way.
    Anyways, thanks again, stay safe and keep up the good work!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s pretty much what Kanye West’s music turned into as well. He expresses a lot of guilt for the content of his old music and mentions being uncomfortable with the fact that his family makes money off of his wife being treated as a sexual object. (Not that it has stopped her.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. On the topic of West, what are your thoughts on his position of leadership in the church? I am not sure whether he actually became a Christian, but even assuming he is, does the Bible not warn against new Christians becoming leaders? Yes, he has mentioned being a Christian before, but with what he did before becoming openly Christian last year, I say that does not really count. So, what do you think?

        ~Colton

        Like

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