Growing up in the early 90’s, I used to listen to a lot of hip hop of the time. I didn’t see the value then of Lauryn Hills lyrics but now i’m thankful my brother introduced her to me.
The early 80’s down to late 90’s was called the golden era of hip hop. It was a time when hip hop was at a creative high and such noble works such as the miseducation of Lauryn Hill, black on both sides, the 36 chamber, black out, just to name a few.
History must be appreciated.
Fast forward to 2011 to present and yet again a new age has come upon us. While it was a long time coming, there have been major players and catalysts in bringing about the current age of hip hop and its trend. The hot trend now is Christian hip hop. Not just the sub genre but also the Christianity religion as a whole. Religious symbolism and Christian themes are the hot fuzz currently for rappers. While it is true religious symbolism have always been a part of hip hop lyrics and poetry, the go to religion right now is Christianity.
Personally I am happy about this but not for reasons obvious. For one in recent times the bar has been upped and lyricism has come back to the fore of recognition and not just good beats.
For long the game had been over saturated with glam rap and glam rappers whose emceeing abilities were never tested and whose rap lacked any substance. There were few who as always who did not bow to the glam rap movement but as always they were not recognized by mainstream media as rappers worthy of their airtime and audience.
Currently though, the mainstream media?s attention has been on the new age conscious backpack rappers and they do not disappoint for the most part in still dishing out classic joints with thought provoking content. A good example would be Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, Lupe fiasco, Joe Budden, Lecrae, Andy Mineo, Jackie Hill just name a few. What they have in common is coherence, content, skill and passion.
There’s more to Hip Hop than Just being real and Creative
It is good that in times like these there is an emphasis on positive hip hop. It is good that the current trend is about hope and realness. Let us not stop there though. Let us push further in our creativity and free expression to produce inspiring pieces that go beyond the music. And bring us to the only one who gives true hope unfading: Jesus.
I say this because as much as i love all the creativity and the realness of this new wave, one must be cautious and know that any trend no matter how positive, if not it does not has Jesus as its sustainer will wither away and lose its value. This in turn will open door for two type of scenarios if events continue naturally: a more subtle but deadly form of humanism or a more brash and outspoken counter positive culture wave. The former will tell us to believe in ourselves and that everyone is their god but it will lead to more pain and delusional art pieces. The latter will thrive and grow on cultural taboo value and hence lawlessness in some cases.
For now though lets enjoy the good vibes and mainstream attention on Christianity and Christian Hip Hop. Many will get to meet Jesus for real in this period. And that’s good news. It’s a reason to be hopeful for hip hop?s future.