Christian Rappers and Collaborations

Why do some Christian rappers only work with certain rap artists?

This question was recently asked, again. And one reason offered was the charge of artists being “super holy.”

I don’t think the issue is “super holy.” After all, that will be GREAT of someone was super holy. That will require a compliment not criticism.

Some have suggested that the reason for the lack of collaboration is because the groups/artists that do collaborate with one another are in relationship with one another.

That is most certainly true; therefore I think the question that should be asked is why are people in relationship with certain people and not in relationship with others?

Is there no time to be in a relationship with others? No opportunity? Is it geographical location?

What is the basis for a relationship? Is it music? Is it more than music?

I think the real issue is the importance of relationships, not the issue of working together musically, and since that is the issue, why then is there such a lack of relationship with one another in Christian Hip Hop?

Possible reasons (These are not things that I am approving or disapproving of or making a value call on, just some observations):

1) Christian Hip Hop is not one big interdependent movement but a thing that consist of many independent movements. In other words, every one has their unique agenda, which takes precedence over a universal agenda. Perhaps there is no universal agenda and if there is, what is it?

2) Christian hip-hop labels, big or small, or self employed artists, are preoccupied with their own work and thus have no time for “outsiders.” In this case, each party is consumed with his/herself or themselves, or with their own agenda.

3) There may be some unspoken personal gripes each party has with one another.

4) A view or practice of relationships being for utility purposes is one possibility. In other words, person A is not in a relationship with person B because he/she wouldn’t get, earn, or have ________. These types of relationships are utility in nature. Aristotle viewed these types of relationships as easily broken since it is based on selfish pursues. These relationships are maintained on the basis of benefits. He argues that there is really no genuine love in relationships of a utility nature because each does not love each other for themselves but for something that each can get from one another. Once they can’t get that “something,” the relationship dissolves.

5) Another reason is similar to the one above in that one of the parties is suspect of relationships being on a utility basis. In other words, one party is not in relationship with another for fear that the other party is looking for something. Now to clarify, every one is looking for something in a relationship whether that is love, companionship, someone to simply talk to, etc., but the fear is more materialistic, especially among artists, as in fear that they want beats, or to collaborate, or want the other to perform. This fear also prevents relationships just as relationships formed on the basis of utility prevent relationships. The latter are formed on the basis of some business that exist between the parties and thus the potential to have a relationship with others is short-circuited. The former prevents relationships out of the one party’s fear of it being business oriented.

I’m sure there are other reasons that can be offered but these are my thoughts and observations.

My prayer and hope is that the Christian-Hip-Hop Movement becomes one hip-hop movement with a universal goal that binds one another in the midst of each artist’s/ Group’s unique goal and that genuine relationships are formed with one another.

Beware of What you happen to be able to Control

Many of you may not know that my father was addicted to crack. He started smoking it around the same time I became a follower of Jesus Christ. During the first five years that I was growing in the faith, my dad was gradually deteriorating and getting worst. For five years my Dad lived the life of a crack addict. My family scattered and the home I grew up in became a crack house for other crack addicts in my neighborhood. But, the grace of God! My Dad entered a drug rehabilitating program where he heard the Gospel once more and like me, became a follower of the Lord Jesus. He’s been clean for several years. Keep him in prayer for he still suffers because of what he lost during those years–his family, his job, good health, etc, etc.

My father and I was conversing with one another about the usual stuff. Often times we meditate and reflect on the past to see what nuggets of truth we can get out of it for future purposes. I was rocked by an incite I received as my Dad was taking me through his life’s journey. He told me that he had used other potent drugs prior to using crack but always managed to control them. He talked about how there are certain drugs that you’re able to control and prevent from interfering into what appears to be a normal life. My father lost that control on the day he chose to smoke crack.

Here’s the incite, be careful not to be deceived by sins that you think you have under control. You may think you have sins in your life under control but in reality you’re being tricked. You’re being tricked to become more careless, more reckless, so that ultimately sin has total control over you. The truth is you’re never in control of sin and if you think you are, you’re just being suckered by sin to believe that.

The psalter declared in Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” not so that I may be able to control sin. Either you’re in sin or you’re not and one way to not be in sin is to internalize God’s instructions for our lives.

I hope this has blessed you.

A Little Parody: The Canton Jones’ and The Ambassador’s Colabo

BREAKING NEWS! Canton Jones Features The Ambassador on new track entitled, “Favor.” Many in the word-of-faith Movement are upset at this latest move from Jones arguing that many of his fans may be led to accept Reformed Theology on the basis that The Ambassador is a member of a Reformed Church and who’s lyrics promote sound doctrine, rightly dividing and interpreting the Bible, and historical Christian doctrine such as the trinity, Justification through faith alone, and a heavy emphasis on the Gospel. Jones’ fans are also upset that many are not as smart and discerning as they are thus unlike them, will blindly and mindlessly follow The Ambassador’s theological trail where ever it goes.

Four reasons why The Ambassador’s Stop the Funeral is ill enough to b a Classick!

  1. Its message is clearly birthed out of a real-life experience (his fall, restoration, and return) and it shows,
  2. Its message is timely (as Christology met the need for a lyrical comprehensive statement about the person, work, and return of Jesus Christ, Stop The Funeral strives to meet the need for the Gospel to be shown to sinners inside and outside the Church in an age where the Gospel is finely articulated yet feebly demonstrated within “doctrinally-sound” communities)
  3. Its Lyricism and delivery are cream of the crop, and
  4. Its beats mesh perfectly with Amba’s style and the theme of the album.

A Review of Christian Rap Album Reviews

A couple of not-so-good things I’m observing from critics who “listen” to Christian rap and offer their reviews.

One, some purely look at it from an artistic point of you and judge it solely based on its entertaining value. These critics seem like their sole purpose in listening is to be entertained. If you hear their reviews, you will hear nothing about the spiritual value or message in the music. Some would say that a musical endeavor, no matter Christian or not, should be subjected to musical scrutiny. I agree! But the key word is “solely.” I’m pretty sure that poem critics may find something poetically distasteful about the poetic style and nature of the Psalms. But, for people who identifies with committing grave acts of sin, confessing sin, and tasting the marvelous mercies of God, Psalm 51, no matter how corny it may sound to a poem critic, is raved about and put up there as one of their favorite bible passages. Why? Because for these people the spiritual insight and message of Psalm 51 is what rocks them more than the means by which they came. Shouldn’t we be impacted in like manner when listening to Christian rap in light of the fact that Christian rap, even the least favorites, are light years better than the Christian rap of old?

Secondly, they seem to think that the Christian rapper only writes and makes music for him/herself. They seem to not take into consideration that an important factor is the Christian rapper’s intention to communicate Biblical truths, either to God or to people from various upbringings, musical tastes, educational and life journeys. Rappers who make music solely for their own tastes and preferences tend to create a cult following of people with the same tastes and preferences. This seems counterproductive to the Christian rapper who thinks broadly about the impact of hip hop.

If these critics would ALSO put serious effort in listening not only to a song’s style, beat, delivery and lyrics, but listen intently to a song’s heart and message, perhaps they’ll render different judgments about a song or album. And, if they can only think outside of their own tastes and preferences and see that Hip Hop is not a homogenous culture, then perhaps they can realize that every rap song does not have to be driven by complex lyrical skills or rough-rugged beats.

Well, that ends my review for now. Grace and peace.

Have We Forgot What God is in the Business of Doing?

The recent stories of fallen ministers within the Christian Hip Hop scene has made me take a closer look at familiar Bible passages since our lives are Bible-like in many ways. I do this so that I can see where I and others fit in the story of scripture. The parable of the lost son is one familiar passage that I have been taking a closer look at.

What I find is a parable that also functions as a archetype for how we as Christians behave in light of situations involving the failures of godly men and women.

It seems like one huge issue in all this is theology, as if people forgot what God is in the business of doing.

God forgives, God restores, God reconciles, God renews, and God resurrects. It’s just like God to take a fallen son and stand him up again. But, it seems that we can easily forget this basic theological truth. Thus, we can easily behave like the older son in the parable. But before we look at this older son, let’s take a look at the whole parable.

Luke 15:11-32

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.‘ And he divided his property between them. 13Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to[b] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17″But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ 20And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his servants,[d] ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Let’s not forget that this story is also about the good son.

25″Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”

The familiar story above is really a story about two sons, one who was bad and one who was good and the point of the parable reveals that the lost son was not too bad to be forgiven and restored and the “righteous” son was not good enough to earn the father’s favor. In the story the father is an archetype of our heavenly Father, God, and the two sons are archetypes of the people who was around Jesus: pharisees, teachers of the law, and sinners. In our day and age things haven’t changed much. The two sons, are archetypes of Church folk, more specifically, archetypes of the behaviors revealed in regards to fallen ministers in Christian Hip Hop and in the lives of local Churches.

Praise God if you’re not like the lost son in the story who learned how to appreciate his loving father the hard way. However, shame on you if you’re like the righteous son who was angry at his loving father’s quickness to forgive, restore, and bless the son who no longer was lost but found.

Basic Christianity!

Cdero

Micah and Metaphors

Lately I have been thinking about metaphors and scripture, namely metaphors of God. Are all references to God metaphoric? How do we know when a reference of God is a metaphor and when it is not?

I had a discussion with a group of people about metaphors and gave them an exercise. We took the book of Micah and broke into groups with each taking a chapter and jotting down every metaphor. We got back together and reported what each came up with and it was a great discussion, so much that we couldn’t even get out of chapter one. although this exercise was not specifically about God and metaphors, nevertheless it will help in that direction.

Here is an example,

Micah 1:1

The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Below are the highlighted metaphors

Micah 1:1

The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

There are at least two metaphors in that verse…”the word came”, and “he saw.”

We talked about how the word can come to Micah as if it had legs or movement from one place to another. Now given what is written following this verse and the seeing of the word, one has to wonder if it is a vision or something else. What did Micah see? Was it an object or objects? Interesting study indeed.

Faith, Love & Hope,

Cdero

If You HATE OBAMA, LIMBAUGH, LIBERALS,

…the Christian Right, the Evangelical Left, etc, etc, then your problem is not politics, your problem is an internal one, its a heart issue, you need to turn off the TV, stop being sucked in my the sensationalism of You Tube and other mass media outlets, and pray, spend sometime in the teachings of Jesus Christ and learn a little bit more about basic Christianity. That is all.

You Tube and Mass Media Sensationalism

angry-mob

YouTube and Mass Media Sensationalism….The same primitive emotional lynching mob spirit of the past still lurks in the dark and you can see it coming into the light by        the feverishness created by the powerful use of youtube and all other video sharing websites. Just look at any youtube video concerning the divide over heath care, race, and now this ACORN situation, and all you see and read is fear, sensationalism, paroxysm, misplaced passion and anxiety. What’s worst is that God’s children are feeding into this mass media garbage. We see the same thing with videos done by fellow Christians on hip hop and hip hop artists such as Jay-Z. If Jesus was physically amongst us, what will he say or do? What would he tell his bride, the government, and the onlookers?

Carolyn James on the Role of Women as Leaders and Theologians in the Church

Moving on from the topic of race to a discussion on class and gender, allow me to introduce you Carolyn James who shares about the role of women in the Church and a little about the New Calvinist movement.

http://www.vimeo.com/6650560

Oh, and peep my facebook where my latest status is about some of the things she says at my FacebookCarolyn