The Glory of God in Rap

The Glory of God in Rap

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?

Nothing, actually.

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.

NF and Lecrae

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,
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
Unworthy sacrifice
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.

Lecrae “Just Like You”

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 it
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

NF “Let Me Go”

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.”

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.

-Elisha McFarland

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46 thoughts on “The Glory of God in Rap

  1. Personally, I really dislike rap music, and never listen to it. When I listen to music, I want it to be both enjoyable, and edifying, which to me, rap is not. For me, it has such an association with bad words, and worldliness, that I don’t really want to be associated with. However I won’t judge you, or anyone else that listens to and likes rap, as everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. 🙂
    Thanks for writing this post! 😀 I enjoyed reading the points you gave.

    Like

    1. I can see that, but that’s wrong. Again, if you’re going to do that, you might as well be consistent and not use the internet (which can be used for horrible things), any kinds of weapon, or even your tongue, for that matter. I highly suggest you listen to “Tell the World” by Lecrae, it is a fantastic song that almost anyone can listen to.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Anneka https://annekareyne.wordpress.com

    YESSSSSSSSSS Great post!!!! Recently started to listen to lecrae and awesome!! :DDD Haven’t listened to NF tho. Also Dad needs to see this post, he hates christian rap and thinks it’s not glorifying to God in any way. But yes yes yes great post!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. NoahJ

    So many people these days associate Rap with old Eminem or Drake or whoever they know well. Even Tupac himself set one of the highest examples for what rap is. When some think of rap we see ladies, drugs, swearing and gangs. However all things are created for God’s glory and can be used for exactly that. Rap can be a great thing to minister if you can do it right. This is important to know as a Christian will not rap about drugs but instead will take the time to write Jesus into his bars :)) Good post

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Karl Bickerstaff

    I definitely agree. I don’t personally like rap, but that’s just a musical preference (I mean, have you ever heard Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky?) One could argue that that’s because I didn’t listen to rap as a kid because of the association, and that might be true. But now it’s just preference. I have no objection to Christian rap, and if men like NF and Lecrae are using their talents to glorify God, then amen.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Another really well written post! I enjoy the music and lyrics of both Lecrae and NF. We had a debate in Omni about rap in worship, which was interesting. My church is Reformed Presbyterian and more conservative, we practice exclusive psalmity (only singing the book of psalms from the Bible put to older music). Rap in worship would definitely be distracting heh but I love their music outside of worship.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ella Smalley

    I totally agree that we need to look for the good in all things even if it is only the 10%. We should appreciate those people who use their platform and fame to try to bring glory to God instead of for selfish worldly reasons.I am not really a fan of rap just because I don’t like the style and it just isn’t my thing but that doesn’t make what they are trying to do with their music any less important. Thanks for sharing. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Great post! I agree with this 100%, CHH has changed my life. I was introduced to the Lord in 2006 and not really being into the traditional style of gospel music and hymns and such. But being so musically inclined I adapted to the new sound of the gospel music from the groups like Youthful Praise, Hezakiah Glory and such. Then being introduced to rap side which I knew nothing about blew my mind. With groups like Cross Movement where all the door artist came from (Lecrae, Flame, J’Son, Shai Linn, etc) and from that alone let me know the gospel can be put in rap form.

    That is where the Lord sculptured me to use my gift as well and share his word through the arts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sir, that is amazing to hear, and I love J’Son and Flame; two completely underrated rappers. I’m so, so glad to hear you say this, and amen! He can work in any way he wants, and for people to disagree reduces the Sacrifice! Thank you so much for reading!!!

      Like

      1. Yess they are totally underrated along with many others (Bizzle, GS, Seven it’s so many.) I had a chance to see them both in person, performance wise and meet and greet. 2 awesome brothers!!

        Also I’d like to share one of my videos. Feel free to take a listen n share. Much love!!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Kirstyn Todd

    I’ve never been able to handle an entire rap song. I find the beat to be way too overbearing with little to no melody, and half the time I can’t understand what they’re saying.

    But that isn’t to say I don’t think rap lyrics can be good. I do enjoy it when raps–as long as I can actually understand them–are thrown into a song; that’s one of the few ways I can listen to it. I was quite impressed, actually, by that section from Lecrae’s rap. I found it refreshing that a popular artist like him can still find the ability to write such deep lyrics.

    I respect you if you like Christian rap, but for me personally, I can only take it in small doses due to a few problems I have with it. I have in the past been wary of any kind of rap because of how horrible most of it is, but I’ve been proven wrong multiple times by Madi showing me lyrics from her favorite raps.

    Liked by 2 people

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  12. There is no genre of music that is bad in itself. It all depends in how it is utilized. So I don’t her people demonizing rap music. It should be more about preferences than tagging it worldly. Sure Christian raps are great and I listen to them too.

    Like

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