Christian rap is completely underrated. It has been spit on, downtrodden, and hated for so long, it’s rather pathetic. I have seen this treatment come from all sides, including the Christians.
Why? What’s so bad about some Christian guys rapping?
See, here’s the problem. Out of all the musical industries, rap is probably the worst. For some reason, the genre of music has gone entirely downhill, and the “music” created today is stuffed with curse words and racial slurs, is sung by men with indecently dressed women prancing around them.
Quite frankly, it’s a disgusting abomination that shouldn’t be legal.
Christian rap, on the other hand, has found ways to redeem the industry. From mediocre rappers like TobyMac to rising star rapper 1K PHEW, the once-small group of Christian rappers has become huge. There are now over a dozen chart-ranking Christian rappers creating music today, many of which have had music go platinum or gold.
Two such rappers stand out from the rest, and they couldn’t be any less alike. One is tall, black, and muscular, while the other is medium height, white, and skinny. The former raps with a style reminiscent of Tupac. The latter seems to take after Eminem. Their names are Lecrae and NF respectively.
Lecrae has been around for a while. Beginning his musical career in 2004, he has continued to rap even to today, releasing 9 albums, including one in collaboration with famous producer Zaytoven. His music has topped the top 10 in the Billboard 200, and he has received cameos in multiple movies.
NF’s career, on the other hand, is only beginning. But instead of beginning his career in fully Gospel rap and transitioning to secular/christian rap like his counterpart, NF began his career writing secular/christian rap in 2010. Since then, he has experienced success beyond even that of Lecrae or Christian music giant TobyMac, having four songs chart platinum (one, Let You Down, went viral and received a triple-platinum certification) and having six certified as gold.
Both have their own unique styles, and yet style makes no difference when you are a son of the King. They have both written powerful words in their own songs. In 2010, Lecrae addressed manhood in his song “Just Like You.”
But then in steps Jesus,Lecrae “Just Like You”
All men were created to lead but we needed somebody to lead us
More than a teacher,
But somebody to buy us back from the darkness,
You can say He redeemed us,
Taught us that real leaders follow God,
Finish the work ‘cuz we on our job
Taught us not to rob
But give life, love a wife like He loved the Church,
Without seeing how many hearts we can break first
I wanna be like you in every way,
So if I gotta die everyday
But the least I can do is give the most of me
Because being just like you is what I’m supposed to be
They said you came for the lame,
I’m the lamest
I made a mess, but you say you’ll erase it,
I’ll take it
They say you came for the lame,
I’m the lamest
I broke my life, but you say you’ll replace it,
I’ll take it.
Almost a decade later, NF wrote about his struggles with depression and its relation to relationships in his song “Let Me Go”.
Out the zone know, where am I head itNF “Let Me Go”
Am I Hell-bound? Will I find Heaven?
Will I feel better or just regret it?
If I let you go and find the seven letters
I been looking for us like it’s never endin’
Open all the doors and let the peace enter
I’m (so, so, so)
Pitiful at times, miserable inside
They want me to hide (no, no, no)
How can I survive? Change your state of mind
I should say goodbye (no, no, no)
They want me to beg, they want me to plead, they want me to die
They just want me dead, they just want me hurt
Don’t want me to live, don’t want me alive
Stop with the pretending, I don’t feel respected
I just feel rejected, I don’t like rejection
You promise protection, I don’t feel protected
I just feel neglected, how can I respect it?
I’ll teach them a lesson, I pick up the weapon
Aim in your direction, shoot at my reflection
Shatter my perception, hate it when I’m desperate
You just want perfection, I want you to let me
What’s the biggest difference? One uses his music to worship, the other uses his music to cry out. In a way, the former praises, the latter prays. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll remember the one I wrote on prayer, in which I defined prayer as, “Intentionally conveying a message to God, through either words or meaningful groaning brought upon by the weight of this world, in an intentional communication of love towards the Spirit.”
Part of prayer is a meaningful groaning, and in this, I see NF’s pain. Through his groaning, he cries out.
Yet on the other hand, there is hope. Lecrae has come to the place of hope a bit before NF, despite the difference in career beginnings. His newest album, set to be released in the summer, is titled “Redemption”, and it describes his walk of redemption with God. On top of that, he is releasing a book, titled I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith.
Finally, both of these rappers bring glory to God. In their own unique ways, they give tribute to the sacrifice they have received from Christ. They glorify God in their music, and it can be seen to those who look.
The problem, however, is found in an area nobody would expect- these men are criticized by their own people, the Christians.
The Christians ignore the music because of the industry. Since 90% of all rap is complete garbage, they ignore the 10% that is beautiful and uplifting. They claim “nobody can worship to Lecrae’s music”, while at the same time putting on music like TobyMac “Till the Day I Die” which, while classified as a Christian Hip-hop song, contains a good amount of rap, some from NF himself. K-Love refuses to play Lecrae or NF’s music, while at the same time playing every TobyMac or Aaron Cole song written (many of these songs contain fair amounts of rap).
When confronted by people like this, I ask a simple question: “do you have knives in your kitchen?” The answer is always yes. I then follow that up with “Why? Don’t you know that you can use a knife for evil?”
That question often leaves people stunned and defenseless, and they should be; they’ve just realized their hypocrisy. In their pursuit to avoid all evil, they make the mistake of ignoring the good side of a tool. A knife is not evil simply because it can be used for wrong, and neither is rap.
“A knife is not evil simply because it can be used for wrong, and neither is rap.”Tweet
When something has the ability to glorify God or present an outlet to engage in relationship with Him, we need to be supportive of it. Perhaps you don’t like rap; that’s entirely your decision, and I respect it. But refusing to listen to it because the industry is garbage is a hypocritical action reminiscent of the Pharisees of old. Don’t get caught up in your self-righteousness. Enjoy the music, and after a little while, you can actually find yourself worshipping to Christian rap, as I have.
Alright, that’s all for today. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a fantastic day.
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