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.
JOSH (Sphere of Hip-Hop)
1. The level of awareness for what already exists is obviously lacking. Whether that’s intentional or not, it’s hard to know for sure. In general, Christian artists have a few strikes against them before they are even heard. The assumption is that it’s going to be whack and that the “message” is somehow going to make the listener extra uncomfortable.
I think in this case, Chance does dope music. When he does something outside the industry norm with his presentation, it’s generally going to be more palatable to the media and audience. It’s less on an unknown for people, more willing they take a chance on checking it out.
2. Layers to that quote. It’s exactly what the CHH circuit has felt from the church for so long. How can a genre of music like this ever be used for anything redemptive? Much like rock music on 60s/70s, the church is figuring out that Urban music is the language (mostly) of this current generation.
The note about pretension is spot on. That’s a common criticism I hear outside the Christian market about CHH. Very pretentious people, approach, and music.
3. It’s threatening. Or at least the perception is of that. People get weird and territorial about it. As if it’s going to be the one thing to throw everything off or that someone’s personal faith isn’t strong enough to handle it. Some Christians that are immature in their walk see the threat and want their convictions to be that of everyone else.
4. Not necessarily but they probably do create more freely. They aren’t always trying to fit their art into a narrow mindset…as in CHH cannot do XYZ so I should stick to basically what’s popular/’successful’/working or else I’ll be an outcast. That pressure seemingly isn’t there for non-Christians. It shouldn’t be there for believers.
What do you think of everyone’s thoughts? Is there someone you agree with more or someone you disagree with? Stayed tuned for part two which will feature comments from Da T.R.U.T.H., Tim Trudeau, Lawren, Chris Chicago, Joey Jewish, and more.