An Open Letter to Aha Gazelle
We at Rapzilla.com appreciate your art. It’s why we nominated you for Best New Artist and Best New Single of 2017. Your creativity, sense of humor, and commitment to excellence all make your music stand out in a world where everybody’s a rapper.
We also appreciate your honesty. This characteristic we usually enjoy as an ingredient of your music, however, came out ungraciously during your recent interview with 247HH.com.
We get it. Everybody has those days when their savage side comes out and they ungraciously roast everybody. We have plenty. So if this was just one of those days, and you didn’t actually mean everything you told 247HH, we understand.
The interview remains on the Internet, though, where people who respect you, as we do, will listen and be influenced by your words. So we felt the need to respond to just a few of the troubling comments you made which could have a bad influence.
Referring to either the genre of Christian music or Christian hip-hop, you said, “There’s a lot of money in that industry… People don’t realize how much money there is in that industry.”
We may define “a lot” differently. You may have been offered a lot, but the number of full-time Christian rappers who are able to support a family with the money they make is nominal. We fear your comment could encourage aspiring rappers to quit their job to pursue full-time artistry before they’re ready.
Referring to Christian hip-hop, you said, “The other thing that’s still weird to me this day is, I feel like the reason why that’s such a thing is because the media demonized hip-hop. And if you notice, because they demonize hip-hop, they had to come in and say, ‘Oh, I’m a Christian rapper.’ [Then Christians say,] ‘Oh, I love Christians. I’m a Christian, too.’ And then it’s like, I’m finna bring you on in. That’s fake as hell.”
To your credit, you clarified by saying, “I’m still learning. I’m ignorant to a lot of stuff.”
While we appreciate your humility, you gave a false narrative of Christian hip-hop that could make listeners think all Christian rappers are fake.
The demonization of hip-hop did not cause “Christian hip-hop.” When any rapper makes music that significantly deviates from the cultural norms of hip-hop, they are often described as members of a subgenre, in addition to the genre of hip-hop. For example, Ice Cube was called a gangsta rapper; Common a conscious rapper; MegaRan a nerdcore rapper, etc. What you seem to be describing is an attempt by artists to cater to the Christian hip-hop market. But this idea is based on your false assumption that there’s a lot of money in the Christian hip-hop market. There isn’t. But there might be more now than there’s ever been, and that should tell you how little motivation that Christians who rap would’ve had to be “fake” and call themselves a Christian rapper for most of the history of Christian hip-hop, where the title has far more often meant exclusion than inclusion.
Suggesting that a “Christian hip-hop” category shouldn’t even exist, you said, “There’s a lot of Christians who do different things … You never saw this with another religion. It’s weird. It doesn’t logically make sense to me, so that threw me off. I’m still learning. I’m ignorant to a lot of stuff.”
Your line of reasoning is similar to the old “Christian janitor” argument: No one calls a janitor who is a Christian … a Christian janitor. But that logic falls short because it fails to take into consideration the tasks that each job tackles.
Janitors clean. Rappers write. Love of Jesus Christ should motivate you to work hard and do your job to the glory of God, but not all Christians are more excellent than non-Christians at cleaning or writing. However, a quick search in your Bible app for the words “speech” or “boast” will yield dozens of verses which make it clear that how a Christian raps will stand out significantly more in hip-hop than how a Christian cleans anywhere.
To be honest, your demeaning comments were confusing. You started the interview by saying, “So as far as the Christian hip-hop, Gospel Rap or whatever they want to call it, I think my perspective … this is coming from somebody who wasn’t really in it or uprooted in it. A lot of times people get offended by me when I say I really don’t know what that is or claim to be a part of it.”
Rapzilla.com makes no bones about it that we are a Christian hip-hop website with a thriving community. We have been covering you since April 2014 when you sent your first payment to be featured on our website. From then until March 2015, you paid to be featured seven times with the tracks: “Underwater,” “No Hook,” “#DNL,” “Eye in the Sky,” “Desert Eagle,” “Free Drugs” and “Sauceallonmeh”, with the latter doing very well.
These are just some of the troubling things you said during that interview. We wish you the best. We would appreciate if you made less negative assumptions about the Christian hip-hop community that you once marketed to.
Aha Gazelle Interview with 247HipHop.com:
Follow Aha Gazelle on Twitter.