Christian Hip-Hop Responds to Mainstream Music’s New Gospel
These were the questions we asked:
1. The media is heralding Chance the Rapper and Kanye West as making great “gospel” music. Yet Christian artists that do the same, are often left out of the conversation. Why do you think it’s ok for non-Christians to dabble in the gospel, but Christians get flack?
2. What do you think of this quote? “[Chance the Rapper’s] Coloring Book, on the other hand, feels like the first great hip-hop album to successfully channel the centuries-old musical traditions of the black church without anything like pretension or irony. This in itself feels like something of a miracle. I say this with the utmost love but hip-hop is a profane music and always has been; its energies aren’t celestial, but fully flesh-and-blood.”
3. Why do you think Christian artists who dabble in “non-Christian” music get blasted for their “lack of faith” or “treason” against Christianity?
4. Do non-Christian artists make better Christian art than the Christians do? Explain.
SPEECH THOMAS (Arrested Development)
1. It’s because the spiritual battle is real! And Satan knows that Chance and Kanye are absolutely NO THREAT to his mission. Whereas believers that are truly striving to live it are a threat to Satan and therefore a threat to this world’s evil! Jesus said the world cannot hate a regular worldly person, but it hates me because I preach that its acts are evil. (John 7:7)
2. I haven’t lived with his album enough yet to determine its black church musical roots. But it wouldn’t surprise me if it does borrow from the black church. Most Black/urban music is historically rooted in the Black church. (Blues, R&B, Soul, Rock)
I think Slate is painting with a very broad brush about Hip-Hop always being profane and “fleshy.” Hip-Hop has been EVERYTHING from spiritual, decadent and everything in between. I wouldn’t call Arrested Development, Lauryn Hill, Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, KRS etc. neither “fleshy” nor profane. There’s more than one tradition in Hip-Hop, and all have contributed.
3. I haven’t seen much of that, but maybe it’s because I never put myself in that “box” of a “Christian artist.” I don’t think Paul made “Christian Tents” or Jesus made “Christian Furniture.” I think Christian men and women need to BE Christians and DO music.
4. I think Christians many times get “caught up” by doing such “sterile” music that it starts to become a tad deceitful or at the least less than honest from the true messiness of their journey. Whereas non-Christians don’t tend to have as many moral restrictions or church culture pressures to adhere to. I’m not judging Christian artists either, I understand the balancing act. Everyone in the world is a slave. Either to righteousness or to sin. BOTH parties have a struggle as they try to express in their art the two sides. It’s a work in progress (trial & error).