The Rise of Christian Hip-Hop

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July 23, 2012 by Will Ray

I went to my first rap concert last night, an experience I was honestly a bit worried about, being how white I am.  Nancy and I took a bunch of students to a concert featuring Trip Lee, an awesome Christian rapper that I really just learned about earlier this year.  His latest album looks like this:

He collaborates w/ other Christian artists on this album, including Lecrae, KB, & Andy Mineo.  If you have any inclination towards hip-hop or rap music, or know someone who does, I’d definitely suggest you pick it up.  We should support these guys, who could probably make a good living going the secular route, but choose to use their skills as a platform to speak out.  I appreciate Trip Lee’s willingness to tackle tough issues like abortion in the track “Beautiful Life,” how to handle money, power, and sex in “Heart Problem,” and choosing one woman for life in “Good Thing.”

In the last 18 months or so, I’ve come to notice what has probably been in the works for a very, very long time – the rise of world-class, prominent, Christian hip-hop artists that are making huge strides in getting their Christ-centric music accepted into the mainstream.

When I found out about Lecrae’s album Rehab (I wasn’t following closely), it was #1 on the Hip Hop Charts on iTunes.  Not “Christian Hip-Hop,” not “Gospel & Religious,” but the regular, all-inclusive Hip Hop Top 10 on iTunes, right alongside artists like Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake, and others.  The Good Life peaked at #2 overall on the iTunes Charts (see it here).  

These guys (and others) are making something so excellent that the whole world is interested to look, and then taking that attention and turning all of it on Jesus.  We talk a lot at Celebration Church about developing a “kingdom” mindset, the idea that Christians shouldn’t just lead in church and religion, but in all aspects and areas of society.  These guys are doing just that, becoming leaders in the arts and entertainment industry, for the ultimate glory of God.

As a youth minister, I appreciate it all the more, because it presents a viable alternative to the other options that students have out there.  Great beats, inspiring hooks, and challenging verses all go into the pot to make a great album like this.  I’ve often been frustrated with the Christian music industry for producing sub-par material.  How can I tell students to stay away from “worldly” music when we don’t have a viable alternative that’s of similar musical quality?  When artists rise like this, it’s something to be thankful for and support.

While we could discuss a lot of things related to this, I’ll leave you with a music video from the album and a question.  “Fallin'” is one of my favorite tracks from the album:

Question: What other Christian artists are making strides in the right direction, using their music to bring recognition to Jesus and attracting attention outside of the Christian community?

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One thought on “The Rise of Christian Hip-Hop

  1. Clarence Green says:

    Great post !! Glad that you enjoyed the show !!

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About me…

Youth minister, financial coach and part-time wedding photographer, based in Raleigh, NC

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