The Humble Rapper
In Christian Hip-Hop you have a lot of talented artist making music but most of the fans of the genre will only listen to a certain type of lyricist. Some feel that if it isn't plainly talking about Christ or obviously humble then it’s wrong. These listeners enjoy the new reach records to a degree; the old reach records a whole lot more, Lamp Mode Records, Da T.R.U.T.H., The Ambassador and anyone similar. Some people don’t like artist like Lamp Mode Records at all and feel like they rather hear biblical truth through an actual sermon, worship songs, Bible studies etc. These people are more prone to be big fans of artists like Rey King, Japhia Life, Cheno Lyfe, The Breax, Rhema Soul, Social Club, Canton Jones, T-Bone and more. Then you have the ones that like a dose of both. As the Christian Hip-Hop community has grown many of its fans are beginning to have a balance. You will discover that a significant number of urban believers have an IPod that has an array of musical approaches. These days you will find Lecrae, Rhema Soul, Canton Jones and Shai Linne on the same playlist. 4 years ago the amount of people who didn't have that fusion was higher. So which approach is the best? Can being prideful, boastful, and competitive be ok in any context for some of the artist mentioned?
According to scripture it’s vital to be humble. Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5,and other verses deal with the fact that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. Clearly, humility is an important topic. Believers are those who desire to be like Christ. If we want to be like Christ, humility is major. Now that we got to the fact that humility is necessary to grow in your relationship with God, let’s talk about context.
Is it wrong to be prideful in every situation?
Are those verses referring to us acknowledging we need God and the importance of seeing our fellow brother and sisters as worthy to serve?
I think most would say the answer to the second question is definitely yes. You will acknowledge God as superior and repent if you’re walking with Christ. Disciples of Jesus that bear fruit will usually display a hunger to serve so once again the answer to the second question is yes. Now what about the first one question? Is it wrong to be prideful in every situation?
Is it wrong to be proud of your son if he hits a homerun?
Is wrong to be proud that you won that basketball tournament?
Can Lecrae be proud of the hard work he has put into his music while still acknowledging that God gave him the ability to even produce content?
Is it wrong to be proud of your heritage?
Is it wrong to want to be the best at what you do if it is friendly competition that raises the level we serve God with our talents?
In 1 Corinthian 9:24 it says “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run the race, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
Wait a minute!!! This is saying to run for the win. If you win a race doesn't that mean someone is losing?... I'll let you be the one to make the call.
I don’t know about you but I want to be the best I can be in everything I do. So are Christian Rappers that explicitly express their confidence in themselves wrong? (Ex: “I’m dope”, “I’m headed to the top”, “I’m the best” etc.) Maybe you think it's all about the heart and motives behind the rapper. Maybe they are being confident because they believe anything God gives them is good and they want to express that. Is that wrong?
Some will say yes because everything we do should be for the Glory of God. Colossians 3:23
Those who take the position that boasting/competing/pride is wrong in a Hip-Hop scenario will say that when you talk about yourself in a positive light over a record that you are glorifying yourself not God.
Those who disagree will say that music is expression and that they are expressing how they see themselves. They see themselves as made in the image of God and good at what they do “because” of Christ. If they are competing to be the beast in order to raise the bar when it comes to God glorifying music… is that wrong? What if the boasting in the Lord verse applies to someone who is saying they are sick with it and at the end of the day you know they believe they are only nice because of Jesus?
Without Jesus there is only death. Believe it or not some of the rappers you think are really prideful truly subscribe to the doctrine of Total Depravity. They just believe that when Grace is applied through Christ God blesses them with the power to be excellent in this life.
Does every song have to proselytize, If that’s the case what about the ABC’s or other positive songs that have nothing to do with the Gospel? Jesus also spoke in parables at times so why can’t rappers do the same? There is a lot of talk about approach to writing lyrics in Christian Hip-Hop. Where do you stand? What is crossing the line and going too far? I rather hear what you guys think?