Music is powerful. It has the power to inspire and the power to destroy. What goes in our ears comes out of our hearts, even if at times, it is unintentional. Hip-Hop is arguably one of the most popular music genres in the world. Rappers make a fortune producing songs, albums, and music videos for the public to hear. As a lover of hip-hop, artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z blow me away with their lyrical talent. However, I believe these artists distort their God-given gifts at times. For example, if you turn on your radio and really listen to the content of a popular rap song in today’s culture, you’ll hear music that glorifies greed, polygamy, and drugs. For this reason I believe hip-hip needs to be redeemed to its original purpose, an authentic expression of the human soul. Now most people would object, “It’s just music. Get over it.” To a certain extent I would agree. However, music impacts culture. If you don’t believe me, turn your attention over to sports. Recently the NFL has come under scrutiny for two players being charged with child abuse and domestic violence. Now I am not saying that their actions are in direct correlation with the music they listen to. What I am saying is that we can’t scream murder, misogyny, and lawlessness in our music and then act surprised when we see it act out in our culture as well. To be clear, Hip-Hop is not the problem. The problem is our heart, it always has been. Our hearts have bought the lie that says being man is based on your net worth, the rims on your car, or the number of girls you sleep with. Consequently, rappers have promoted this false glamour of the “gangster life” in hopes of fitting in with cultures pseudo-standards for a “man.” As a Christian who happens to love hip-hop, I believe music is a blessing from the most creative Artist of all time, God. This gift was given to us to build each other up with words of encouragement instead of tearing each other down with false ideals. I’m not saying all music has to be upbeat and bible thumping. That’s a stigma a great deal of “Christian” music tends to get. I’m just saying hip-hop needs to go back to being authentic, and Christianity provides an avenue for that. In fact, Lecrae puts it best in his number one selling album Anomaly, “All this killing but where the bodies at? All this money, where the Bugatti’s at? If you dig a little deeper you’re gonna find an insecure man sitting in a two seater.” Lecrae’s point is simple. Instead of talking about superficial materialism that paints a false portrait of life, we need to speak about deeper issues that penetrate our society and influence our culture positively. When you boil it down, our creativity is just an extension of our Creator. Therefore, I believe rappers need to use their God-given talent to encourage one another and build each other up in love. Only then, will hip-hop be redeemed to its original purpose. Only then will our society see something greater than abuse, misogyny, and violence. Only then will our society see something greater than the artist of the song. They will see the Artist of life.
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