How Should We Listen to Christian Rap Songs? [OP-ED]
In my previous article, I spoke about the mutual growth between an artist and their listeners and how listeners should not just listen to a project from their favorite Christian rap artist for the vibes solely. I also stated that it’s up to the listener how they can effectively discern the journey of an artist, knowing what the Lord is leading the artist to do per time and drawing lessons from it as a listener to impact the lives of people around them.
Let me reveal something to you.
The artist wants to carry you along too. In the words of nobigdyl. in his single, “PARABOLIC!,” he said, “People want the vibes but I gotta give them life though.”
When I heard those lyrics properly, it was like a reset button for me because I loved nobigdyl. because of how chilled and wavy his voice was and his beats are always so groovy. Something I always want to dance to.
But when I heard that line, I was like “Oh wow, so you want to give me life with your music? What then, am I missing?” That means there was more to his music than the plain vibes I was getting from it. Before that time, I was even finding it hard to absorb the godliness in his music.
Later on, I listened to his other projects and songs with attentiveness and I realized that nobigdyl. was not only just a great lyricist or that “Cool guy with groovy tunes.” He was a lover of God.
Basically, the artist wants you to know why they released a project, why the album is titled a certain name, and most importantly, the story they are trying to tell via that body of work. Perhaps, it’s a lesson they learned during a season of their lives that the listener might have even been aware of.
The body of work could be representing something affiliated to an important occurrence in the society like the Black Lives Matter movement for example which is a very powerful movement. The project could be emphasizing the Biblical standpoint of unity amongst us humans irrespective of racial differences and it could stir up something impactful in the listener.
So, imagine listening to such a project and enjoying it just because the beat is dope, the rhyme scheme is ten over ten and the melody is wonderful? You won’t get the full package that the body of work has been designated to serve.
HOW INTENTIONAL SHOULD YOU BE WHEN LISTENING TO CHH SONGS?
Let’s take Lecrae’s Restoration for example. Lecrae is a legend and that’s a fact. He’s a mentor to many as well but it doesn’t mean as a listener, you shouldn’t want to know why he released certain music. Don’t follow blindly and just listen because oh well, his music is great and it will have you nodding your head.
Actually, that should be more reason why you’d want to know because he’s an inspiration to many. You’d want to know what message God has for you through his music and for listeners at large.
You should want to know why he named his album, Restoration. What prompted it? How was God’s promise actualized in his life through revival? What was the situation at the time? Why did he collaborate with some artists on the album?
You should want to know the meaning behind every line. This is not to say that we shouldn’t celebrate an artist when they release a new project. In fact, it’s okay to listen to the songs at first without the intention to search deeply. It’s okay to do some surface listening.
But the next couple of times you listen to the same project, listen to analyze and take whatever blessing you can receive. You can research the lyrics and digest them carefully.
Someone reading this might think I’m being too extra but I believe it’s that deep. I mean, why are you listening to Christian Hip Hop if you are not interested in getting something of value? You can easily just listen to something else. It’s that simple because if you remove God from Christian rap, it’s just as ordinary as any other kind of hip-hop music.
In conclusion, let this question be in the tablets of your hearts always, my fellow CHH fans, including myself: “Am I excited for this project because I know I’m about to get blessed or simply because the artist has good songs with sleek beats?”
I pray God positions our hearts and deposits the right intentions in us. The world needs to be impacted by the value we get. So we should act accordingly.