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Saturday, June 11, 2011

(Christian) HIP-HOP IS DEAD!!!!

I'm very sure many of us still recall that resounding statement made by Nas - Hip-Hop is Dead! Many up till today still argue against, or in favor of that statement. In that light, allow me to make a profound statement, but this time we are about to mourn the death of our most precious child - Christian Hip-Hop or Gospel Rap, or Christian Rap or whatever else name it was christened! Pay your last respects, go buy bouquets of flowers, it's sad cause he was taken at the prime of his age! It's pitiful. There has been signs, and truly the end of this vibrant young man was imminent.

Don't be hard-hearted, mourn with they that mourn. It's nothing to celebrate about....Wail, scream shout, slam yourself on the floor...whatever to mourn this Child of ours who we thought his mission was to come SAVE the world. For so long, even while he was alive, he struggled to live up to that standard...but how blinded was he! Mourn oh ye faithful. It was corrupted, and it seemed like along the line, it lost this "heavenly vision", or maybe perhaps that was never his mission in the first place. However, you see it, his life had been a mess. CRY!

Don't be mistaken, he's DEAD, and you are just trying to be blind if you can't see the casket. Many are silently mourning, and sobbing...and your ears are deaf you don't hear them...you're still rejoicing, celebrating the WONDERFUL LIFE of this young man, while he is not even present here with us anymore. Go visit him, he's there in the grave, they are about to lower his casket....Go pay your last respects. Do you respect him, then don't stay behind while still celebrating him. Folks are mourning!

Can we say of his life that it's been a life well spent? Certainly so...but he could have lived a few more years, I mean just a few more years....and it is this desire to have him so bad with us still that we go about trying to live as if he's still alive. No, he's NOT, we need to lay hold of reality!

I can't really say much of him, cos I really never knew him. The first time I came in contact with him, to be honest, I thought he was wack. He has a brother...they say his ways are Secular, he's worldly they say! I never knew him either. He was just obnoxious...but that was me while I was still in my ignorance. I did not really see the difference between both of them then, they were somewhat similar...I hated one, so I was bound to hate the other. But then, I needed to know why I hated them so much...and my journey started. I came in contact with imitators, they were not real...they did not exhibit the characteristics that were present at the creation of these brothers; especially the other one (the outcast, the worldy), cos the young man we mourn today came only later. I started to like him! And I listened, I studied, I learned!

And then later on , this young man emerged. We just HAD to give it a label...NO, his works were not sufficient enough to tell us he was different from his brother. There needed to be a label that would tell you that! So, whatever it did, wherever it went, whatever it said did not really matter, as long as the label is there! And there has been different things he has said: diverse ideaologies and opinions, even among the people that are his representatives!, there has been many places he's gone: from clubs, to bars, to schools, to even churches, all for the sake of making itself known...or rather as is commonly said: to make the ONE who sent it known! > "I do this for God", "I do this for the Kingdom", it's all too commonly heard! There's also been so many things he has managed to do: make people laugh (either laugh AT or laught WITH him), make people CRY, make people digusted...it's all too many! These varyings don't seem to matter, as long ast the LABEL is still there...to us that's all that matters!

Join me as we mourn this brother! He's lost the power that seemed to have been given him, well that because he now is dead! Can't you see!!!? And yes it's true he seems to be known all over the world now, but trust me, he's not respected at all! He seemed to have lost that WHOOA! element he used to have in the beginning! And allow me to say this, this young man is dead because he's a byproduct of Christianity, which if you really pay attention too is dying himself. He himself was one agile, a young man with so much vigor...but look at today, we've made him a sissy, a wuss, an old man just lying on the bed with no power!

I guess for now, I've painted a figurative picture...and I'm done with the allegory. If you read this far, I commend you...only not you turn back now, because you know it's true what I say.

I've always been wary of using the term "Christian" before anything... music, arts, book, and whatever have you.... to indicate that it is separate, or distinct or special or spiritual. I hate labels with a passion, not that they are not good, they are because it helps for the sake of identification or classification...my qualm is when such labels are abused....and most times, they are! The enemy is tricky, that's why it all too easy nowadays to just put Christian in front of anything, and that makes it good to consume! Know what you are doing!

Get this straight! The enemy wants us to be soooo consumed in identifying ourselves as something, and that's IT! As long as you call it Christian, and it somewhat has signs that it is, we're fine! What a state of despondency! Just so you can understand where I'm coming from, I'll give you this illustration to tell you how easy it really is for the line to get blurred! Porn is an epidemic, alright! It's a monster that needs to be combated by itself..and yet it is a billion dollar industry! It encourgaes LUST, and the fulfilment of one's fleshly desires....it feels good because the flesh loves it! You get aroused and chemicals are released in your brain helps you to attain that "feel-good" feeling! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Christians, as we are will swear down that a child of God should not be indulging in that! And truth is no child of God should be! What's my point!? Have you ever heard of Christian Porn? Oh SHUT IT! There could never be any such thing like that! Of course there is...the enemy is not stupid...let's just clarify that once and for all...They say to define it as Christian porn, we won't promote fornication,or adultery, the sex scenes will just be between married couples! Or even if sex scenes have a hint of adultery or fornication, then it will be portrayed as bad, and that sex should be between married couples alone! A family could be shown who had just done their quiet time, about to go to bed, they pray, they read their bible...night time, and then the sex scene starts! Sounds good, doesn't it? At least now I'm not watching porn, I'm watching Christian Porn cos well, it does promote my worldview, doesn't it? The height of decpetion!

And yes, I know, you might be saying How ridiculous! You are the guy that has sprung up from his seat, mad now, saying "No, that's just stupid! The line can never be blurred! Porn is bad, and it's bad...you can't add Christian in front of it...and make it good..." Ah! (sorry to interrupt you, but I've got the words I was pateintly waiting to hear)...And yes my friend, you are right! The line should never be blurred! But aren't we guilty? We've made this prcious child of ours the same way! Hip-Hop is either bad or good. Could it be both, could it be either? But no, that's exactly what we have done, we have just by putting Christian in front of it assumed we've made it better! The heights of deception! No, adding that label in front of it doesn't make it any more acceptable unto God! Not that it's not different, NO, I dare not say that, but the fact is the label has been abused, many a times!

This art form is not the only sufferer of the abuse of the label...many others have too. I still up till today can't really tell..if I was not told...how a Dance is Christian! I can't for the life of me! Am I saying you can't use that Art medium to glorify God? You'd be super wrong to think that! David is a role model for me! Asumming Milcah (hope that's her name - might doublecheck later) was not David's wife, and does not know him, would she have been able to tell that David was praising YHWH? Cut out the Christian music that is playing in the background, remove yourself from the front of the Church you're dancing in, let's place you in a place where random people are just passing around - can they tell it's for God? No, don't tell them...Don't draw their attention to the label...will they be able to tell? What then makes your dance Christian? Because you're dancing to a Christian song? Because you're dancing IN the church....or is it because sincerly within your heart...words can not even describe what you do...it's just an expression of who you are - a Christian, and an expression of gratitude to the God who you serve! Why then the label? This is not to say you should now go ahead and get rid of the label...NO...but a caution for you to sit back, and think about WHY you actually do what you do!

Many a times, ask any Christian Artist what their mission for music is: It's almost instant, as if it's been programmed! "To save souls", all too common! In a quasi mode, that makes you some sort of preacher, or minister right? Of course you are! Every one of us are, Christians I mean. Our first ministry EVER is the ministry of reconciliation, NO? So that means whatever medium (remember, it is just a MEDIUM) we can about to do that is pleasing...BUT just because you rap/sing doesn't put you a step higher (in the ladder of the ministry of reconcilaition) that someone who doesn't! Don't grow wings and start to think you're some sort of Preacher or anything....Talk about God because that's your LIFE, that's who YOU ARE....not because well, I have to talk about God if I'm called a Christian Rapper! It's not duty/obligation in the strictest sense of the word...it's an extension!

And sure enough, claiming you are making music in order to save souls only tells us that you are a witness for the truth, by default! Take pride in that, it is an awesome position, but remember Witness for the truth of the Gospel like yourself paid the price with their lives! Are you willing to die for this, suffer persecution, humiliation for this, risk every honor, respect that could ever be paid you for this? And no, I don't mean are you willing to die for Christian Hip-Hop? No, that's easy, and a worthless death if you do die for it!

Have you heard about Danny Rodriguez, probably NEVER! But he was a Christian Emcee, involved with the inner youth in Dallas. He was shot (although motives are still not known), but he wouldn't have been shot if he was INVOLVED in his community. He was THERE! He died because he particpated in ways to BE PRESENT! He's not living in a big mansion I would believe, driving the coolest track, having everythig rosy and smooth, and on the track be the ULTIMATE SUPER HERO rapper! No, HE WAS THERE, in dangerous environments, among the drug addicts, the gang members! No, I'm not saying you should do the same too (how honoring it would be if we ALL could!), but I'm saying don't put yourself on this pedestal as if you are doing something out of the ordinary!

No, not that the genre is not worthy to be died for, but there is something more huge that this GENRE! - The Gospel! Die for it, are you willing? Don't tell me you are, and you are on the stage, 5000 people in your concert, having a good time obviously, no conviction of sin whatsover, and you are screaming, I can die for the gospel..but wait, the situation to actually do so never comes.....you're always in front of people who support this movement. That's great, nothing bad in enjoying that, and taking pleasure in this, it is a gift! But let it be known that you're not REALLY doing anything for the Truth itself. You're doing something for a movement that represents or supports the truth, but not the truth itself. To thyself be true! Remember, it's a movement, a MEDIUM!

But no, we've given so much power to this MEDIUM! Oh, remember, it is only but a MEDIUM! CHRISTIAN HIP HOP DOES NOT SAVE SINNERS! CHRIST DOES! Let us be careful we make this medium such an idol, and truth is it already is! Let's be humble, Let's be honest! A preacher once said: "If great preaching or great singing or great musical ability could change the face of the world, it would have a long time ago! I would not be here [preaching], but it CAN'T. The only thing that can is embracing the presence of God"

On a concluding note, there is no law that forbids us from totalling enjoying what we do and the gifts that he has give us. (Ecclesiastes 5: 18-20) Whatever we do for the glory of God, let it not be with a proud heart, and rejoice in what you do! Music is music, nothing more than that! Don't give music so much power. Give the power back to God, he's GOD! God CAN use anything to give glory to his name, and raise our attention to his sovereignty. Examples in the Bible are all too many! He created the world, EVERYTHING in it! The devil has not created anything, he only tries to craftily distort what has already been created!

Here's a quote from C.S Lewis' 'The Screwtape Letters', "Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made all the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable."


Oh if you haven't, PLEASE read the book: It speaks so well of the craftiness of the enemy! It's written from the point of view of a Senior Devil writing letters advising his nephew, an amateur devil-in-training, on how to tempt human souls over to their big boss’ side. They are striving for souls for their Kingdom, hence when you see The Enemy, they refer to God! Genius!

There is still sooooooo much I want to say, but I don't think I should! God bless you, and I really do hope you are not too proud to at least consider some things that have been said...you don't have to accept EVERYTHING, but the Spirit does speak, even through an unathoritative person as I am!

Thoughts to ponder: "Do you make music about Christianity because it expresses who you really are, or you make that kind of music because that's what's expected of the genre ?" Think about it!

5 comments:

P.E.T. Projects said...

The gospel has been modified to suit what is now called 'contemporary christianity' which is an escape from the 'old time religion'. A modification that permits excesses; excesses which are in actual fact sins!

The church is also failing in its duty to preach the undiluted word. Music should be for edification, lifting the soul out of misery. unfortunately, like you pointed out, its dead.

I remember when Kirk Franklin brought the 'revolution' we were quick to embrace it like old wine in a new bottle we overdosed on it. Alas, our love waxed cold too soon and the wind of mundane pleasure catapulted us back to the profanity of circular music.

aeWHYoh: Fellow Writer said...

You summed up my thoughts perfectly well. I couldn't have said it any better. Christianity (and by default anything tied to it...) needs to be revived though. We all have our parts to play. Thanks for stopping by here.

Ibhade said...

concur with P.E.T...truthfully speaking i like to listen to 'cool & melidious' christian songs that i can clearly hear the words & sing along in praise or worship..all these GRA-GRA for music no be am at all..it is like noise to me!..we should 'worship' GOD in songs instead of 'talking about our lives or testimonies'...

aeWHYoh: Fellow Writer said...

LOL @Ibhade, I LOVE to listen to 'cool & melidious' christian songs too :)Worship is not a style of music though, Worship is a lifestyle. We CAN and DO worship God through talking (sharing) about our lives with others or testimonies..."we overcame the devil by THE BLOOD of the lamb...AND by the words of our testimonies", but I do understand that there are stylistic preferences though. Haha, GRA-GRA, lol. Thanks for stopping by :)

Praverb said...

This is a great written post...just wanted to express that I appreciate the words. I despise labels as well.

I want passion, conviction, testimony and honesty in the music that I listen to. Unfortunately I do not feel that with a lot of "Christian" based artists because they are so inclined towards repping the status quo. Tell me about your struggle, your pain, your fight with temptation. Universal themes that make us humans, present something that I can truly digest. I am tired of artists that just offer a product without instructions. As Christians we will be persecuted, express the persecution that you face on a daily basis.

In closing, I can relate to emotions, I can relate to honesty and people presenting their struggles with being human. Let's be more open and help those who are suffering by presenting something that truly inspires and provides enlightenment.

Praverb
http://www.praverb.net