A Non-Christian Perspective on Christian Rap

I manage a barber shop that is Christian owned and operated. Part of the deal is that we have a clean and family friendly atmosphere. No cursing or vulgarity is allowed inside the shop by either employee or customer. We play only Christian music, movies, or television, except in the rare cases that an informative documentary is on.

We use Pandora for our music and one of the barbers had put on a Christian rap station last night so it was still on this morning when I turned the Google TV on. We listened to several hours of Christian rap today before a few of the unbelieving barbers asked for the station to be changed. It was interesting to hear their take on Christian rap.

The general consensus was that they didn’t like it because the Christian rappers tried too hard to sound like their secular counterparts. This didn’t make sense to the barbers who wondered why saved rappers would want to sound unsaved. It was confusing to them. It sent a mixed message.

And if I’m honest, it wasn’t merely how the rappers sounded that led the barbers to be confused; it was also what they said. Many of these rappers seemed to be glorying in their sinful pasts; describing in detail the myriad crimes they committed against God. Sure, they’d end by saying that they’d been delivered from said lifestyles, but the messages were anything but messages of deliverance.

It’s interesting to note that Lecrae was cited as the lone exception. Perhaps this is because he’s quite original and doesn’t mimic anyone in the secular landscape. I commended Stephen the Levite to them because of his originality and his ability to teach while rhyming. In the end though, the barbers preferred their rap secular, as I do.



5 thoughts on “A Non-Christian Perspective on Christian Rap

  1. I’ve always thought there was a silent C in rap …
    But I do think the Reformed rap guys are doing something creative and that is sanctifying this medium, though it doesn’t sound like Music to me.

  2. Yeah I’m definitely not a fan of Christian rap. I’ve said this before but to me it’s split into two types:
    1. It says everything that secular rap says but put’s an “I don’t” in front of it all (“I don’t drink no more, I don’t smoke no more, I used to do this and that I don’t know more”) so it pretty much sounds like secular rap but just not as good.
    2. It’s too preachy and on the nose (especially when it uses the language out of a systematic theology that feels really unnatural) and I can’t stand when rap is used to promote an ideology no matter how much I agree with it.
    None of it feels real to me. I do like when secular rappers rap about God and spiritual things though.

    “I had the best of life in my clinches but monkey wrenches was thrown
    Like chairs kings sit on, my prayers seem to long
    I fall asleep before the ending, don’t even get to say Amen
    I hope He understand I be on bended knees
    At times, I think I’m crazy, so I say forget it
    Or maybe it’s the devil infiltrating and like Riddick, Bowe
    I’ve been fighting this since them fetus days
    I count from one to twenty, when I’m through, repeat the phrase
    It’s just a phase, it’s gon all pass, but that gets old too
    I’m weakening like a deacon doin dirt
    What am I supposed to do?”
    Outkast – Millennium

  3. Nick, I’ve been listening to Lecrae recent, and I hear something of a Jay Z influence coming through. I could be wrong.

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