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.
1. The issue here is all about Culture. When a person is presented as a member of Secular Hip-Hop Culture, they are allowed to be governed by the laws of that Culture. Chance doesn’t get a “pass” by the Church, he is ignored by the Church. If a person is presented as a member of Christian Culture the same rules apply.
They will be judged according to biblical principles. It comes down to the culture they profess from the start.
2. In other words, Chance was able to talk about Biblical ideas and still be cool, accepted and fully relevant in Secular Hip-Hop Culture. Again, this comes down to how Chance was introduced. An artist introduced first as a Christian Rapper could make the same album and its perception would be different because they would be considered a member of a different community, culture, and belief system than that of “Lil Wayne” or “Drake.” Chance is being praised for being able to remain fully Secular, Creative, and Christian.
3. Yet again, this comes down to which Culture you represent at the start. If you profess Christianity right away, you are governed by those laws.
4. It’s not a matter of better art. It’s a matter of Cultural Relevance. Even the Church is wearing Yeezy’s. Even the church is wearing Beyonce’s Ivy Park. Even the church uses the latest lingo from the secular world. Secular Hip-Hop artists play a huge part in defining what is relevant overall. In the case of Chance the Rapper, he has a co-sign from Kanye West, which lends a tremendous amount of relevance to his story. He’s never officially initiated himself as a member of any “Christian Rap” community. He’s relevant, and the laws that govern him are secular and not Christian. They don’t make better art. They’re better at making art that matters.