Christian Hip-Hop: Some Content May Surprise You

Culture, Featured, Music, Religion — By on August 26, 2011 at 10:12 am

In my undergraduate education, I was a student of Biblical studies. I was also an avid rap fan.

Many people can hardly put those two things together. I’d often find myself writing out a theology paper while listening to the latest rap album I had purchased. While I did listen to some rap (and other genres, for that matter) that at times felt at odds with the content of what I was writing, that simply wasn’t the case with the rap music I was listening to. In fact, there were times when the lyrics would help provide me with a picture of something from the Biblical text.

Earlier this week, I wrote an introduction into this series on Christian hip-hop, and it will probably span a few more posts before I leave it alone for awhile. Today’s goal, though, is primarily to introduce you to some of the content of Christian hip-hop/rap.

So rather than spending time writing about the genre, I’m going to provide some lyrics that I hope may encourage you to see the application of the music to the life of the Christian, and perhaps even find some new music you may enjoy.

God eternally exists
as being three in His personages
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and each person is
fully God and there is only one God who subsists
So chew on this cause this is meat and I’m certain of this
His prerogative could have been to conceal himself
But we serve a God who has chose to reveal himself

-Flame, “The Godhead,” from the album Rewind

 

After 400 silent years filled with sighs and tears
In Bethlehem the Messiah appears
God in the flesh- Second Person of the Trinity
At thirty begins His earthly ministry
Baffling cats with accurate, exact facts
And back to back miraculous acts
A stumbling block to the self righteous
But the humbled- His flock, said “There’s no one else like this”
He came from heaven to awake the numb
Demonstrated His power over nature, son
A foretaste of the Kingdom and the age to come
But the reason He came was to pay the sum
For the depths of our wickedness, our wretched sinfulness
Bless His magnificence- He’s perfect and innocent
Yet He was wrecked and His death- He predicted it
Next He was stretched, paid a debt that was infinite
He said that He finished it- resurrected so the elect
would be the recipients of its benefits
Through faith and penitence we get to be intimate
His grace is heaven sent, it never diminishes
Now the Holy Spirit indwelling is the evidence
for heaven’s future residents who truly represent
Jesus, the Author, Producer, Director and
Star of a story that will never, ever end!

-Shai Linne, “Greatest Story Ever Told,” from the album Storiez


Brethren listen to this exposition
Paul wrote the Philippians some lessons for living (1:1)
Written to them but its real good text for Christians
So read it closely, I hope we can catch the vision
Chapter 1 he tells them he’s blessed to get them
Co-laboring with him to serve the best who’s risen (1:5, 7)
And that’s he’s confident the Lord will perfect in Christians
What He started and hearts will be corrected in them (1:6)
Listen, he was in prison now maybe never getting out
But all he could think about was the gospel getting out (1:12-14)
Some was even preaching Christ from selfish motives
Coming at Paul but dawg he shrugged his shoulders (1:15-18)
His focus was Christ the Messiah man (1:19)
And for Him “to live is Christ and to die was gain” (1:20,21)
Yeah, he was hard pressed, but to remain in the flesh
Was more necessary so they faith would progress (1:22-24)
He wanted them to strive together for the gospel
In one spirit, one mind, listen to the apostle (1:27)
Maintain the same love, uplift your brothers
Don’t just look out for yourself, but for the interests of others (2:2-4)

-116 Clique, “To Live is Christ (Philippians) feat Trip Lee,” from the album 13 Letters


You prolly never had the living God unpacked,
Unpacked by some rapper the living God don’ jacked.
For His own purpose, you know it’s seems to bug,
People the way He mends though he picks up scrubs.
Like you won’t like me, but enough of this intro,
Introduing this God, gotta give up for this info.
Info all about the One that the texts calls ‘Yahweh’,
Yahweh is the I AM he had a Son come our way,
Our way to Yahweh is the man Christ Jesus,
Jesus is the Son Yahweh sent to man. Christ breezes,
Breezes to another person known as God the Spirit,
The Spirit is the third person of the God Head, hear it.
Here it is, the foundation. God’s Triune.
This things hard, Hard to lay out in sixteen bars.
Bars of truth about God, Doesn’t this seem odd?
A rapper would bring truth heavy as 16 cars.

-The Cross Movement, “Our God,” from the album HIStory

Of course, there are numerous artists I haven’t even touched on. This only represents a small group, and aside from The Cross Movement, are relatively recent in the world of music. Older artists are out there as well, of course, but since I am talking about the current validity of the genre, I’ve focused on artists who are still producing music, or, in the case of The Cross Movement, artists who have changed the shape of today’s genre drastically.

Image via Flickr.


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  • http://about.me/dillieo Dillie-O

    Good to see a fellow Christian Rap fan in the mix! I grew up in the roots of SFC, Dynamic Twins, and even Gospel Ganstaz and while I’ll admit some of their lyrics seem a bit cheesy by todays standards, they were really stepping outside of the normal “CCM” atmosphere and bringing a genre of music to attract a group previously untouched.

    It seemed to me there came a time when a lot of the Christian Rap scene lost their impact, but these new artists are renewing my enjoyment and hope in their impact. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, for awhile there was the success that you are talking about (Gospel Gangstaz, for example), primarily because of the ‘stepping out’ of the CCM sound/lyrics/style. This was a great thing, I think, but didn’t have staying power, partially because the novelty was lost. Doing something new is commendable sometimes even just in that right, but if experiments are not followed up with something solid and professional, artistic and beautiful…we end up with cheese, for lack of a better term.

  • Bugcparap

    I would like to see you comment on other rappers, such as the Deepspace5 crew (Mars Ill, Playdough, Listener, Sivion, etc.)

  • sophie

    I’d be interested to hear your take on the UK Christian rap scene – Guvna B, Victizzle, Faithchild etc. Would you have any interest in reviewing one of these artists? UK rap has a very different sound to US rap – you might like it!