If I told you I was a overweight, goofy-looking white guy that grew up out in the country in the great state of Texas, you’d probably think that my favorite kind of music was country. And if odds had anything to do with it, you’d be right – unfortunately I am not. A lot of people who I surround myself with are country music fans, and I don’t have anything against it (I even enjoy listening to it every now and then). But I can truthfully say that one of my favorite kinds of music is hip hop/rap – I’m not sure what the difference is, so I’ll just put a little ‘/’ in between them for now, and I’ll just say rap for the rest of this post, since it’s shorter to type.
I can remember back in the very early 90’s, when I was in 4th grade, that I got my first taste of rap – it was (drumroll, please…) Vanilla Ice. That’s right – Ice Ice Baby… And after that I listened to other rappers, too – like one rapper named Candyman who used a real whole lot of PG-13 euphemisms related to overly sweetened food items. But there was always something about the music and the beat of rap songs that drew me in. And I also really like the rhyme structures of a lot of the rap songs I heard.
Fast forward about 8 years, after my conversion to Christian spirituality. I was just getting my first taste of true Christian music (contemporary stuff, not just music from the hymnals at church), and I really did enjoy listening to it. But with no real rap presence in the Christian music world, for a long time I still listened a lot to secular rap artists, and it probably wasn’t the healthiest for me, spiritually speaking (let’s face it – gangsta rap can be a little vulgar at times!). Fortunately, sooner or later Christian rappers starting popping up, and I was able to get a taste of some rap lyrics with a Jesus twist.
Not all of the early Christian rap was great, as far as music and rhyme structures go. But some of it wasn’t half bad: DC Talk did some early stuff, and I still have CDs of a few better known Christian rappers like KJ-52, Grits, John Reuben, and T-Bone. I even have some CDs of not-so-well-known Christian rappers, like the Peacemakers (heard of them…I seriously doubt it). I don’t want to put any of these artists down, because they all have talent, but when it came to great rhyme structure, awesome beats, and lyrics that truly speak to me, it wasn’t until I started hearing artists like Cross Movement and Lecrae that I really enjoyed Christian rap.
Now, a lot of people are coming out with Christian rap records, and some of them are pretty good. The one I can’t stop listening to right now is Tedashii’s Identity Crisis CD. The first song on the album is only about a minute and a half long, but I keep listening to it over and over again. It’s genius…he effectively presents the gospel in about 15 seconds, rhyming the whole way:
Now What’s Up/
Hey man I’ll tell you what’s up/
Man sinned and sinned and in the end now our image’s messed up/
And Identity’s damaged/happened all over the planet/
Not lost, but sure is blemished/now how we see is scrambled/
Being rich, in mercy, gave me living water when he saw that I was thirsty/
And I came (and I came) to the cross (to the cross) for the Lord and it ended my searching/
I was lost (I was lost) in a maze (in a maze) until His amazing grace/
And I got to the truth, and I found out what to do/I need to live by faith
Check it out: