This has been one of the most debated topics of the past few years, since Holy Hip-Hop really started trying to carve its own place in Hip-Hop history. A lot of ministers and older believers have stated that hip-hop can’t be holy, because of the main theme in most of today’s current chart-toppers. I have even read where a Minister J. Newcomb wrote on BlackGospel.com: “Satan is the author of Hip Hop and God is the author of Holiness.” His argument goes on to talk about the pioneers who are credited for creating hip-hop Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash and others were separate from Christ.
“These men by no means at the time were confessing Christ. These were men who where in a separated place from God and in that separated place they conceived what’s known today as Hip Hop. Just like God needs a body Satan does too. Satan provided the pattern for Hip Hop and man provided his availability.”
An organization called the Fellowship of Holy Hip-Hop answered his argument by saying, “Man created Hip Hop, true. But, just like paper was invented by man to put the Word of God on it and made “Holy” to be used for His Purpose, Hip Hop can also be Holy” and be used for God’s Purpose. The Ark of The Covenant, though made by man, was just an ark until God made it “Holy”. It was so “Holy” that anyone who touched it without permission was struck dead by God; please see 1 Chronicles 13: 5-13.”
Now before we get into a lot of semantics this is what I do know, hip-hop is a culture and rap is the music. While there are some very negative, degrading lyrics in rap music and the hip-hop culture to say it was created by Satan, misrepresents all who make positive rap music, and hip-hop as a whole.
Kirk Franklin delivers God’s word undiluted through hip-hop and rap music. Kanye West’s record, “Jesus Walks,” and DMX’s record “Lord Give Me A Sign,” both glorify and praise God. Cassidy last album had 2 powerful track, “Done For Me” & “Leanin On The Lord Side” featuring Angie Stone and most recently a freestyle battle Asian rapper named Jin, who got a record deal with Ruff Ryders Records after winning Freestyle Fridays on BET’s 106 & Park now raps for the Lord. Are these artists evil because they are hip-hop artists or affiliated with hip-hop?
Because of these artists and many others, there are generations of young folks who are hip-hop heads, who also grew up in church. Youth leaders in churches all over the country are using hip-hop to reach these youngsters. Using what they are interested in to teach them about God. How can that not be Holy.
Legendary Rapper Kurtis Blow has started The Hip-Hop Church in Harlem, NY. It take place Wednesday nights and many kids and cats on the street are learning about God, and now he has churches all over the country comin to him to teach they how to do it. Run from the legendary group RUN DMC who are credit to introducing millions of people to hip-hop has given his life to Christ and now goes by the name Rev Run and puts out the very inspirational Words of Wisdom daily, inspiring many people.
Legendary emcee KRS-One released a great CD called Spiritual Minded. That CD inspired my new book by the same name which is a daily devotion for the hip-hop generation, combining hip-hop lyrics and biblical elements. Anyone who knows me, knows I am hip-hop. Does this make any of us any less Christian, because we are hip-hop heads. Does this make us or anyone who uses hip-hop to spread the word, evil.
Who is Minister J. Newcomb or anyone else to judge Hip-Hop or what they don’t understand? If God can take Saul and convert him into Paul The Apostle who is responsible for writing a large portion of The New Testament and bringing the Word to the gentiles. Responsible for starting many churches in the early days of Christianity, why can’t God use Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop artists to get the Word to the streets, the youth, the hip-hop genration (the modern day gentiles).
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth:
Make a loud noise, and rejoice and sing praise.- Psalm 98:4
The Bible make seven references to making a joyful noise to praise God. It doesn’t say anywhere that noise has to be what we call Contemporary Gospel Music, or the shouts and praises you hear in your local church on Sunday. If a Hip-Hop record, no matter who the artist is, and what songs he made before and after, makes a song that praise the Lord, does that not make God happy because it’s a rap record from an quote, unquote gangsta rapper, or a secular artist?
Bone Thugs N Harmony have a great record with Yolanda Adams called, ‘Order My Steps (Dear Lord).’ Are we to igmore the song because of BTNH’s past songs. If thats the case, since none of us is without sin, none of us could be witnesses for Christ! Do you thinj Yolanda Adams would have recorded that song with them if they werent sincere when they made the song? Is she now not a respectable representative for Christ because she did the song with them?
Several years ago, I interviewed a group called the Gospel Ganstaz, when they first came out for one of the various underground Hip-Hop publications I used to write for. They were former LA gangbangers, members or both the Bloods and the Cribs, who turned their life around. Their music has been credited with reaching other gangbangers and cats who were working in crack houses that weren’t attending church or listening to gospel music. Their music is a little edgy to say the least, but if they saved souls and brought lives to Christ, is God not pleased? That is our purpose as belivers right, the Great Commission, ‘to go out and make disciples?’
God uses what He wants to get his message to His people. Older believers who don’t understand Hip-Hop, give us labels and put us down, but I say this to you. Make a joyful noise and praise God however you are led to. If that happens to be through the very powerful medium of hip-hop, by all means praise His holy name and spread the word to the unbelievers! Make a joyful noise! Don’t let others prejudices prevent you from praising the Lord the way you want.
I will admit the music in the beginning of this movement was quite corny, but now we have real emcees, DJ’s and producers repping Christ through music. People seem to be more caught up in tradition, that they are not being effective in raching the youth. Who wants to listen to someone that just judges them. The problem with tradition is, it makes you reluctant and reject anything that isnt you are used to.
The pharisses and sadducees were reluctant to accept Christ because His message was different that the traditonal Laws Of Moses and they had Him crucified. The disciples and the jews were reluctant to share the Word with the gentiles. Today’s church is the jews and the Hip-Hop generation are the modern day gentiles. Older believers have to be careful not to miss the message because they dont like the messenger.
Lasty I say, if Hip-Hop has the influence everyone says it has on the youth. YO know kids wearing baggy clothes, disrespecting women, getting high, commiting all these crimes and selling drugs etc. If the problem is the kids are emulating and imitating what they hear on these songs and see in these videos. How much more effective with it be when God takes back control of the music. If God uses Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop artist what do you think the kids will do then when its the music they see and hear more and more?
I wont make that same mistake and try to shove what I believe down your throat. I will say this, the enemy has us so busy, spending all this time debating this topic, who is out there effectively spreading the Word and saving the lost? In closing I ask you again, can Hip-Hop be holy? You be the judge.