How to destroy Christian hip-hop
Posted by Zema on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 10:02am EST
CHH artist JaylafĂ© recently wrote an article on what he sees as destructive practices in CHH. Check it out:
1. Focus too heavily on pursuing artistic excellence
Whether you understand Christian hip hop to be one form of hip hop or understand it to be a transformation of hip hop, thereâ€™s no doubt it will fail if its prime objective is to win the ears of hip hop heads before piercing the hearts of sinners. Because Christian hip hop has a terrible past reputation in terms of artistic quality, there are many in this genre (movement, ministryâ€¦) who push for artistic excellence, which is a worthy endeavor! However, we have to be careful. The first object of this ministry is not to produce good hip hop. Repeat: the first object of this ministry is not to produce good hip hop.
While artistic excellence and fitting into the hip hop culture as a whole are essential, they are not the essence of this ministry. The essence of Christian hip hop is communicating a Gospel-centered, Biblically-grounded worldview that ultimately points people to Jesus Christ as the only redeemer for our brokenness. How that plays out in terms of word choice in songs, thematic material, and so on can vary. But the message and not the art is nonetheless the essence of this movement. While we absolutely need artistic excellence, we need holiness, integrity and Gospel conviction even more. In other words, donâ€™t get so caught up in the â€śHHâ€ť that you forget the â€śC.â€ť Unless of course, you want to destroy Christian hip hop.
2. Make one person or group the face of this ministry
As secular hip hop exalts certain artists to the â€śtopâ€ť of their game, we do the same in Christian hip hop. This is the last trend we want to imitate from secular hip hop, because exalting a person or group as a face of this ministry at the expense of focusing on Jesus Christ is to curse our Lord. And Iâ€™m not just talking about Lecrae and the Reach Records camp, Iâ€™m talking about the way we tend to exaltanyone who gets a buzz in Christian hip hop. Weâ€™re fallen people, and we love to make heroes out of people. Itâ€™s in our nature. Weâ€™re fascinated by celebrity. But we risk the destruction of Christian hip hop if we become more fascinated with a human being who reps Christ than Christ himself. As people in this movement, we need to learn how to appreciate and encourage the ways God uses certain artists to communicate His message without exalting them the way secular hip hop exalts artists.
We need to see artists as means and not ends. I am both an artist and a listener, and Iâ€™m very aware from both sides of the fence of the dangers of exalting a human being in the ministry of Christ. As an artist, itâ€™s sinfully pleasurable to have your pride fed, and it separates you from the humility, brokenness and Gospel-driven purpose youâ€™re meant to have. As a listener, when you exalt an artist your sense of purpose also becomes distorted: you no longer see Jesus Christ in the light you should. Jesus Christ is the face of Christian hip hop, not Lecrae nor Daâ€™ T.R.U.T.H. nor any other artist. If youâ€™re more devoted to an artist or a group than you are to Christ and His Gospel, you will likely become the divisive, gossiping, immature person Paul referenced in 1 Corinthians 3. While there is room for supporting certain artists and groups more than others, we have to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our leader and come together a whole lot better. So, letâ€™s do it. Unless of course, you want to destroy Christian hip hop.
3. Engage in petty conflicts over gray areas
Iâ€™ve been an avid fan of Christian hip hop for a while now. And hereâ€™s one thing this movement seriously needs to learn: if the Bible does not directly teach on a subject, we have no right to treat it like a black-or-white issue. We canâ€™t judge another artist or ministry for what they do or donâ€™t do if there's no legitimate Biblical basis behind our judgments. And for some reason or another, Christian hip hop seems to be a magnet for gray areas in ministry. Should our ministry be more for Christians or for the world? Is it wrong to collaborate with non-Christian artists and producers? How should we go about explaining Christ in our music? Is it wrong for artists to show themselves drinking alcohol? What is the difference between "Christian" music and "secular" music? I could go on for paragraphs.
But, of course, you can just read the comment sections on so many articles, blogs, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, and so on, to see what I mean. We in Christian hip hop often spout off against each other according to our preferences, not necessarily according to Biblical teaching. We form biases against ministries and artists because they fall in different places in certain gray areas. But we have to have more charity than this. If an artist or ministry is choosing to go a different direction than youâ€™d prefer in a gray area but they genuinely love Jesus and are Gospel-centered, put the bias away and pray for them. Christian hip hop is small enough. Petty conflicts over gray areas only make it smaller and less effective. Yes, some conflicts are definitely worth dividing over. But we could definitely do better with learning which conflicts are essential and which aren't. Letâ€™s learn not to engage in unhelpful conflicts for the sake of unity in the Gospel. Unless, of course, you want to destroy Christian hip hop.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 @ 4:43pm EST Tuesday, June 18, 2013 @ 3:14pm EST Monday, June 17, 2013 @ 10:14am EST Friday, June 14, 2013 @ 11:15am EST Tuesday, June 11, 2013 @ 8:44pm EST Thursday, June 6, 2013 @ 6:49pm EST Saturday, June 1, 2013 @ 9:50am EST
Friday, May 31, 2013 @ 7:07pm EST
Thursday, June 13, 2013 @ 8:04pm EST Monday, June 10, 2013 @ 9:38pm EST Thursday, June 6, 2013 @ 9:01pm EST Thursday, June 6, 2013 @ 1:23pm EST Tuesday, June 4, 2013 @ 8:16pm EST Saturday, June 1, 2013 @ 10:36am EST Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 8:23am EST
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 @ 6:15pm EST
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 @ 6:20am EST Saturday, June 1, 2013 @ 9:42am EST Wednesday, May 29, 2013 @ 5:55pm EST Saturday, May 25, 2013 @ 1:53pm EST Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 10:42pm EST Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 10:13pm EST Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 9:42am EST
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 @ 10:42am EST
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 11:42am EST Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 8:23am EST Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 7:00pm EST Wednesday, May 1, 2013 @ 6:15pm EST Tuesday, June 4, 2013 @ 8:16pm EST Thursday, May 9, 2013 @ 7:55pm EST Monday, April 22, 2013 @ 2:56pm EST
Thursday, April 25, 2013 @ 2:17pm EST