Laying in bed last night, I turned on my CD player and listened to Cross Movement’s “Chronicles”. When I woke up this morning to get ready for church, I showered, brushed my teeth, came back to my room and loaded up my Windows Media Player with Phanatik’s “Incredible Walk”. When I was done getting ready, I left the house, got in my car and listened to Timothy Brindle’s “Killing Sin”. I guess it’s safe to say that I dig hip hop. I was thinking about my love for hip hop yesterday. I remember the first Christian hip hop album I bought – Cross Movement’s “Holy Culture”. I think I listened to that CD too much. I can remember going into stores with my CD walkman and headphones, grocery shopping while listening to “Eternal Cypha”. I was surprised. I had always thought Christian rap was corny. I mean, come on. Christian RAP ? What could they POSSIBLY have to talk about and what could they bring to the table ? I was used to secular rap. Growing up, I was a fan of East Coast rappers. I loved Method Man, DMX, Wu Tang, Notorious BIG, Redman, Common, and even Lil Kim. During this time, I was in high school, and I remember a time when saying that a girl engaged in certain sexual activities was an insult. Lil Kim turned it into a badge of honor. Wu Tang had everyone watching old school martial arts movies. Notorious BIG had folks interested in gangsters and mobsters. Meth and Red had everyone getting high. Common made people think and want to ‘get deep’. DMX was just crazy. I liked him because he acted like a dog. I, too, started to do it. I thought it was cool. Once the Lord called me to His flock, my love for the hip hop I used to listen to went away. Over time, I threw away all of my CDs, including some I’d only had for a few months.
Some months into my faith walk, I was serving as a youth leader in church. We were having youth service and one of my fellow leaders had brought in this CD. I saw kids jumping around, my peers jumping around, and having this crazy fun! I didn’t know the words to the song they were listening to… probably because they were all singing along. All I could catch was – “Huh? What? Huh? Huh? Huh? What? What?” I found out later that the song was by this group called Cross Movement and the song was called “Know Me”. Over time, I ended up hearing more of their stuff, and my appetite for hip hop was awakened and redeemed! After I purchased “Holy Culture”, I started to purchase more hip hop. Now, because I assumed that all Christian hip hop would be Christian hip hop, I ended up getting some not so good stuff that I’ve now thrown away because some of the music was about self glory and not God’s glory.
Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a healthy collection of Holy Hip Hop. There are so many antagonists out there who want to yell to the world – Hip Hop is not of God! They are giving satan way too much credit, credit that he does not deserve. That’s like saying sex is not of God. Sex was created by the Lord, but what makes it sinful is when it’s not used in the purpose that it was intended. No music is evil in and of itself. A gun is not evil, however when the gun is used to kill someone, it’s made evil.
All the time, I’m seeing people – young and old, Black and White, male and female – saying that hip hop can not be used of God. Well, please tell Him that. I cannot begin to say how much the music I’ve listened to has taught me, influenced my Christian walk, motivated me to dive deeper into theology, introduced me to reformed theology, turned me onto to the works of the puritans, caused me to be more serious about my faith, and convicts me of my sin. So, the Lord can’t use it ? Think again. And as I said, make sure you let Him know what He can’t use.
Now I will say this. I know that there are a lot of artists who classify their music as Holy Hip Hop when in fact, they aren’t. When it comes to those artists and their albums, they bring down the genre. I say this because, when people are searching for stuff to say about HHH that is bad, they make a beeline for these people, and when they’re singing about money coming down or other things of the flesh, they become an easy target that is used as a major representative of the HHH culture.
This is why I am so excited about the following Dove nominations because these artists are adamant about the Truth of God’s Word!
Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year:
â€œGotta Noticeâ€; Rewind; FLAME; FLAME; Cross Movement Records
â€œJesus Muzikâ€; After The Music Stops; Lecrae Featuring Trip Lee; LeCrae Moore; Trip Lee; Cross Movement Records
Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year:
After The Music Stops; Lecrae; J.R., Tony Stone, Official, N.A.B., Lecrae, T.R.U.-L.I.F.E., Myles Lawhorn, Cam; Cross Movement Records, Reach Records
Over the past year or so, the Lord has opened doors and blessed me with avenues to serve in the ministry that has edified me so much. I’ve sold tickets, lent my singing abilities to tracks and performances, promoted, designed web media, turned people onto new artists, and I love it. It’s my element. I cannot begin to say how much I love it! Being able to see respected artists live and living out their lives the same way they do on wax is awesome. I was ecstatic to find out that my most respected artists / ministers were not studio Christians, lol.
With all that said, a sis is thankful for the ministry that is Holy Hip Hop. The Lord has used it so mightily in my life. Praise the Lord that He doesn’t listen to human beings telling him what He can and cannot use. If He redeemed filthy, dirty, and wretched man, surely, He can redeem other aspects of His creation.