The Stigmatization of Christian Rap in African Communities
This article will address something critical, and it would mirror the sentiments I’ve always felt ever since I became a fan of Christian Rap. As a Nigerian who grew up in Nigeria, I was surrounded by people who thought of Hip-Hop as a vulgar genre of music. While growing up, people mentioned the word “hip-hop” with so much criticism.
People always talked about it in a despicable manner, and for some time, I saw it as a genre of music I should never listen to. I felt like I would be judged and cast away if I vibed to Hip-Hop. It might seem like I’m exaggerating, but I’m sure someone reading this, particularly an African, would testify to an extent.
While Hip-Hop and rap turned out to be truly vulgar, I still didn’t hold on tightly to the belief that Hip-Hop was an abomination. In fact, “Hip-Hop” was the general term used to classify every form of secular music, whether afrobeat or any music with a fast cadence. So long as it wasn’t the slow tempo worship music or a sound with audible lyrics, then it was Hip-Hop. Worldly Music. It was insane.
I always found that odd, so I never held on to such a mentality anyway. Listening to Hip-Hop music later on, didn’t make me a bad person. I just liked the vibes I was getting from it. I didn’t feel the effect of those teachings until I started listening to Christian Rap.
I was intrigued by my discovery. I was surprised to see folks out there glorifying God with the same genre of music that was critically condemned. I was itching to let everyone around me know that such music existed. Later on, I started to wish the local church would embrace Christian Hip-Hop, so at every teenage gathering, I would play some CHH songs from my phone. No one enjoyed it.
I wanted everyone around me to have a taste or an experience of the treasure I’d discovered. One day, I recommended CHH songs to a friend, but he told me in a dismissive tone that such music wouldn’t help him connect to God.
While it is understandable that everyone has their musical preference, there was no doubt that there was a stigma around hip-hop beats, music with a fast cadence, and even vocal aggression, and I started to feel it.
It got to the point that I started to feel like I was tripping because I enjoyed Christian Hip-Hop music better than the choruses we’d sing during church service. I began to feel like an outcast. I started doubting the impact of CHH songs on my life. So, I expressed my pain on Twitter and got some thoughtful, enlightening replies. Someone replied that a pastor who was his roommate in the university saw gospel hip-hop as the devil’s music, and such music should never exist.
Why does it have to be like that, though? Should Christians dismiss Christian Hip-Hop just because of how it sounds? Even when some of the songs under this genre have good messages that can change the trajectory of your life? What would Jesus have thought about Christian Hip-Hop or other things that we consider as secular?
God can use Christian Rap, and he is still using it to bless people’s lives. So church folks should not be judgmental about things they don’t understand or haven’t tried out for themselves. Christians shouldn’t constrict themselves to one way of connecting to God.
It’s precisely the way we believe that hearing God speak to you is not the only way God can communicate with you. You could have a dream or a vision. You could come across a verse or a chapter in the Bible that turns out to be just what you need at that moment. It could be a line from a song that you hold on to as your anchor.
So what makes Christian Hip-Hop any less of a channel that God can use to bless us? I’ve often testified through the previous articles I’ve written about how a Christian Hip-Hop song by Andy Mineo (Shame) helped me a lot. From the music being very relatable to something, I used to examine myself and my struggles. I’m glad I found many Christians who also listen to Christian Hip-Hop individually and have had good testimonies to share as well.
Someone testified that Christian Hip-Hop drew him closer to God and helped him find a place in his church with his talent. Another said CHH has helped her honor God and herself as a woman since Hip-Hop music was quite degrading towards women. She found it hard to listen to because she didn’t want to be impacted by how the music said she should act when God wanted her to walk a different way.
So Christian Hip-Hop is impactful, and we need to let many know, especially the ignorant ones. Or those who think that there is only one way to hear from God. We should tell them that they can’t restrict God to specific methods or practices.
Below are a few Christian Hip-Hop songs and albums I recommend:
- “Shame” by Andy Mineo (Listen to The entire The Arrow and The Sword EP)
- “Take Me as I Am” by Lecrae
- All Things Work Together album by Lecrae
- Heathen album by Gawvi
- “Pain” by 1kPhew
- Camp Lukewarm album by Montell Fish
- BRKNHRT EP by Hulvey
- Christopher album by Hulvey
- “Suicide Nets” by nobigdyl.
- “More to Me” by Wande
- “10k” by KB (The entire His Glory Alone album, in fact)
- Raul EP by WHATUPRG
There are so many other songs and albums definitely, but if you want to try Christian Hip-Hop for the first time and want to be able to relate to the blessing God can impact in your life, then you should listen to these songs and see the light that there is to CHH. I promise you’d be passionate about eradicating the stigma that there is to Christian Hip-Hop.
Christian Rap Africa Playlists: