A Deeper Look: The theology of PRo's rhymes
Posted by Edward Shelton on Friday, June 24, 2011 at 8:59am EST
It’s been a while and I feel that I need to be redeemed for the delay. Life and circumstances have a tendency to grab one’s time. A little background before we get into the meat of the article, I am a PRo fan. My first exposure to PRo was his Jackin’ For Hits album. I bought Black Out. I have both PSA mixtapes heavy in my mp3 player’s rotation.
When everyone said he was too prideful I defended and prayed for him. I feel his edgy approach is needed in Christian Hip Hop. If his song “Bow Down” was the pivot point for PRo, then Redemption is the slam dunk. I’m glad to see what God has and is doing with PRo. His work has really ministered to me.
The first song we are going to look at today is “Hold Me Down.” The hook goes into the topic of grace directly. PRo aks: “Why does God still pursue and bless me when I continually fail him?” The lyrics answer this question. The first strong element of this track is that he shows that the Holy Spirit empowers us to testify and builds us up. With the Holy Spirit working through and with us, we glorify the Father in spite of our inconsistencies. PRo takes an Ecclesiastes and 2 Corinthians 5:17 approach to some of his previous actions by pointing out the vanity of past things such as money, notoriety, and the opposite sex. As his life in Christ started to flourish, the new viewpoint revealed his old ways to be death instead of life. Overall the song is a great testament to PRo’s reflection on his growth in his faith.
The second song we are going to look at is “Power to Die.” The song starts out hard by saying:
Now when I'm done I know a lot a y'all will say that I'm a hater
But y'all treat the Holy Spirit like Magic, Lakers
If the pastor to Kamehameha* ya and you fall on the ground
If you ain't living like Christ, what's the point of jumpin' 'round?
I think we need to see clear about the power that was given
Not a genie in a bottle for you to have better livin'
He's a untamed lion sent to make you go harder
Now see he took 12 cowards, turned most of them into martyrs
*Kamehameha is a word from Dragon Ball Z. Goku uses this “spirit” attack often.
I don’t hide it all that I’m a Pentecostal. At first when I heard this part of the song I was taken aback and had to laugh. I’ve seen a lot of people try to force getting slain in the spirit as the ultimate manifestation of the presence of God. PRo points out something my professors at Oral Roberts University said to me repeatedly: “If you come up the same as you were before you went down, you just passed out.” Here, PRo says something that does separate him from others who are critical of the current state of Christian culture’s view on the Holy Spirit.
Now please, don't get me wrong, I believe that we can prosper, but turning God into your butler to me is not proper.
There are some Christian rappers who wouldn’t say this at all. There are artists who would say something like PRo’s second line and not his first. This shows me PRo may be theologically influenced by some people in the Reach Records camp (it is the label he’s now signed to after all) but that he has also made his own conclusions on certain matters. When you go toward the end of the song you see that PRo sees the power of the Holy Spirit as powerful, mighty, and creative. That in of itself shows that PRo believes in an active Holy Spirit.
The last song we are going to look at is “Slave to You.” By far, it is one of the most impactful songs on the album. This song strikes a deep chord about a key element of the Christian walk. If we look closely at the biblical text, we see that the more we actively surrender to the Lord; the more we are used. We see a harmony of function and a joy of community between the Trinity and humanity. While a natural slave tries to run away from the abuse of his master, we see PRo’s understanding of God as our master is the opposite. The slave and the master run to each other. The master holds on to the slave not to exploit, but to cultivate and protect. The slave works and gives freely in a reflection of love towards, and confidence expressed by, the master.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the article. I am working on some various ways of interacting with you so be on the look out for some new content ideas I have.
Agree or disagree? Have other song or album suggestions for Edward to examine? Let us know in the comment section below.
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