Home Features Story Where Are All the Christian Rap Critics? (Part 1 of 2)

Where Are All the Christian Rap Critics? (Part 1 of 2)

Where Are All the Christian Rap Critics? (Part 1 of 2)

Where are all the Christian rap critics?
Sure, we have a few individuals (like myself) who write reviews and blurbs for assorted websites, blogs, and the occasional print piece. But are those really “critiques” in the proper sense?

I would argue no. Too often, what we’re writing and publishing is, at best, consumer advice. At worst, we’re just regurgitating a track list, some sample lyrics, and adding our own personal thumbs up (or down). When will someone step up and tell us what these albums and songs mean in the Big Pictures of the Gospel, the holy hip hop movement, the state of the Christian music industry, etc?

I’ve been writing holy hip hop reviews since 1995 and read many more authored by other pens. For a long while, it’s felt like we’ve missed something. This point was further solidified when I ran across a piece called “Pong x Infinity” by one of my favorite pop culture columnists.

In this essay (originally published by Esquire magazine in 2006 and updated a year later in his book IV) Chuck Klosterman proposes that there are no real video game critics for the reason stated above – nobody talks about what they mean. He writes:

“And that – ultimately – is why the lack of video game criticism is a problem. If nobody ever thinks about these games in a manner that’s human and metaphorical and contextual, they’ll all become strictly commodities, and then they’ll all become boring. They’ll only be games.”

Replace the words “video game(s)” with “holy hip hop album(s)” and the argument still holds.

Instead of just saying we dig “I Won’t Ever Stop” off of The Yearbook, we need to discuss why it’s important that KJ-52 and Goldenchild are on the track together. A review of AWEthentic should talk about why this title is important for Enock, an original member of the Cross Movement, who left the group and moved to Houston to record it.

Is there a story of redemption or ultimate truth revealed in Listener’s Ozark Empire concept album about a traveling knife salesman from Arkansas? Does KRS-ONE’s guest verse on T-Bone’s record offer any spiritual value to the discerning Christian?

These are the types of questions we need to ask and our critics (again, challenging myself with this assignment) need to explore in their writings.

When we ignore this focus, we do a great disservice.

We owe it to the artists, the fans, the movement, and the Good News to delve deeper.


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