The State of Christian Hip-Hop
The Story: In the latest video installment of The Chopping Block, Lampmode artists Shai Linne, Timothy Brindle, Stephen the Levite, Json, Hazakim, and S.O. discuss the state of Christian hip-hop (CHH) today. Among other things, they consider the relationship of hip-hop to the local church, the importance of explicitly Christ-centered lyrics, and the perennial danger of pride. Surveying the CHH landscape leaves much to be applauded and much to be desired. On the one hand, the rise of social media has generated more opportunities than ever for artists to rhyme publicly. On the other hand, however, there don't seem to be many voices pointing people to something beyond the music.
The Background: Many Christian hip-hop artists have arisen since the late 1990s when The Cross Movement began setting a new standard for theologically-rich, Christ-exalting lyricism. The Lampmode artists in this discussion, along with contemporary artists such as Lecrae, Trip Lee, and Flame, are in many ways carrying on the tradition that The Cross Movement began. They're not in the majority, however, for what gets passed as Christian hip-hop is too often characterized by theological levity and tireless self-promotion.
Why It Matters: 2 Corinthians 4:5 states: "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord." At the end of the day, the question all believers---especially those holding microphones---must face is simply this: who's the hero? The Lampmode artists are wrestling with how to promote King Jesus as the supreme and sole hero over-against any competitor, including themselves. So watch the video, reflect on what's discussed, and be encouraged by the thoughtfulness and humility exhibited by these gifted brothers.
[Note: If you find a story our community should know about, please send the link to joe.carter *at* thegospelcoalition.org.]