Saturday, September 19, 2009

Should Gospel Hip Hop/Rappers Be Confrontational?

Should Hip Hop/Rap Artist Be Confrontational

Unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything. --Peter Marshall, US Senate Chaplain We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In this day and age of the message of tolerance is it appropriate to ask if Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artists should be confrontational? We all know the politically correct answer is no. However, the scriptural answer remains a resounding yes. Taking first as foundational secular examples the quotes of Peter Marshall, U.S. Senate Chaplin in 1947, and the acknowledged singular American with the greatest impact in the Civil Rights Movement, the Late, Great, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Add to this prestigious list a young man out of Atlanta, Georgia by way of Detroit, Michigan, known as Johnny Justice, Jonathan E. McCoy. Young Mr. McCoy's Oratorical Contest winning speech and online Petition[1] to Delete the "N" word from the world's vocabulary are evidence of our need to speak out against perceived injustice at the cost of being considered intolerant, confrontational and or exclusionary.[2]

It is this intolerant, confrontational and or exclusionary impetus that drove Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist KJ-52 whose real name is Jonah Sorrentino out of Tampa, Florida, to pen a rap entitled Dear Slim[3] and Dear Slim 2 [4] Both songs directed at secular "Christian" rapper, a.k.a. Slim Shady and Eminem in turn, (Marshal Mathers) concerning what KJ-52 considered a change in Eminem's musical messages. In an exclusive interview with Betty Bowers, Eminem proclaimed that he is "down with the Bible" and attempted to justify his raps with expletive pierced answers.[5]

Unlike the former and some would argue current east coast, west coast, dirty south, up north rivalries in secular rap, Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artists do not seem so fast to throw stones. But, is really throwing stones when the truth is being raised and a question of what one member of the Christian Hip Hop/Rap community does reflects on the entire community? For these answers only God may judge. So, let us see the conclusion of the matter per Bible.

God is The OOG (Original, Original Gangster).

St. Matthew 10:28
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

The fear spoken of in this verse is not the reverential fear that is often preached about. The Greek word for fear in this passage means to put to flight by terrifying (scaring away). [6]

Intolerant of Sin and Sin Promoters

St. Matthew 23:13
But woe unto scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

The Greek word here for woe is "grief." It is grief that is promised to the scribes (writers of law) and the pharisees (preachers and teachers of law). All called hypocrites as they were saying the words but not living the life. And in some cases they were not saying the words of truth. They blocked the people's entry into the kingdom heaven. The kingdom as in the power of heaven, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.[7]

It is this promised woe exclaimed by our Savior Jesus that makes it clear he was, as we must be, intolerant of sin. This theme is woven throughout the 23rd chapter of St. Matthew's Book and it followed by such distinguished disciples as Paul, Peter, Johnny Justice, KJ-52, me and perhaps you?


Acts 13:10
"O full of deceit and all fraud, son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?"

A sorcerer opposed the deputy of the Country of Ephesus from hearing the word was struck blind at Paul's word immediately following this very public encounter. But it was not only with non-believers that confrontations arose. Paul and Baranabus had a sharp disagreement on the issue of who show go on a mission trip. Acts 15:39. Peter and Paul also had a very public dispute wherein Paul states "I withstood Peter to his face before them all." Galatians 2:11-14


St. John 6:66
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

When Jesus began His message of communion "unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood you have no life in you." This excluded many from following because they did not understand and did not stay around long enough to get an understanding. For at the meal the Lord blessed and brake the bread and said this is my body, blessed the cup of wine and likewise said this is my blood. How foolish they must have felt and perhaps this is what drew the 115 disciples to the Upper room to await his return. Acts 1:15.

So would it be such a bad thing for Gospel Hip Hop/Rap Artist to police themselves as well as other "leaders" in our faith and without trepidation call them out when their actions do not line up with scripture? Marshall, King, Johnny Justice, KJ-52 and me don't think so. What do you think?

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