Words carry a ton of meaning and rap music makes room for a ton of words. That means whether right, wrong, or indifferent, rap is unique in its ability to convey a message.
Over the years hip hop has gotten a bad rap (pun absolutely intended) because its lyrics so consistently boast in things like violence, materialism, drug use, and misogyny.
But that’s not the only message hip hop conveys. Artists like Sho Baraka, Swoope, Propaganda and others have powerfully proven this. Hip hop submitted to Christ can be a really effective conduit for our message of hope, salvation, rebuke, and education.
Maybe more than any other 60-year-old Caucasian, midwestern pastor, God has used John Piper to shape and influence this kind of hip hop. If you haven’t tasted Reformed theology and Christian Hedonism with a little boom bap or over some hard hitting 808’s, here’s a theological EP.
“Make War” by Tedashii, feat. Flame
It’s either fight or lose my life,
and I can’t take this passively,
so what you think I’m ’bout to do?
I’m bout to do what I can do.
Trust the one who got me through,
and fight like it was after school
Few things compare with being at a tightly-packed, standing-room-only concert when this song drops. The music fades in and you hear that familiar voice, “I hear so many Christians murmuring about their imperfections and their failures and their addictions and their short-comings, and I see so little war! ‘Murmur, murmur, murmur… Why am I this way?’ Make WAR!” The bass drops and the crowd goes wild.
Piper’s intro came out of a Romans 8 sermon from 2002. John Owen has pled that the Christian be killing sin or sin will be killing you. The reminder is that this war-like mentality is essential.
Tedashii and Flame have put the battle to a beat, and, as a result, a generation of hip-hoppers are waging war on their sin and fighting for joy in God. Now a genre known for promoting sin and rebellion is confronting it head-on.
When Jesus died in our lives something strange happened.
He gave us power.
Yeah I know that we are sinners,
but since He rose He’s renewing the image of God in us.
Now, we gotta start making war.
Now, we can start saying no
to them fleshy impulses that Jesus Christ is paying for.
“Don’t Waste Your Life” by Lecrae
Waste my life?
No I gotta make it count.
If Christ is real then what am I gonna do about
Everything in Luke 12:15 down to 21?
You’ve really gotta go and check it out.
This is another crowd favorite that demonstrates the seriousness of an essential message in Piper’s theology. Don’t waste your life! Hip hop reaches across all kinds of socioeconomic lines. You will find its sound from the manicured cul-de-sacs of the suburbs to the concrete jungle of the city.
Hip Hop speaks to a generation in danger of ignoring these simple but poignant words. “Once life twill soon be past; only what is done for Christ will last.” YOLO (You only live once) is true. If you don’t know, now you know.
I refused to waste my life.
He’s too true to chase that ice.
Here’s my gift and time cause I’m constantly trying to be used to praise the Christ.
If he’s truly raised to life,
then this news should change your life,
and by his grace you can put your faith in a place that rules your days and nights.
Read the full article (featuring Shai Linne, Trip Lee & more) here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/hip-hop-ft-john-piper