Christian rap has actually been around for a good while. Most have heard of DC Talk (sorta rap) and maybe The Gospel Gangtas (memorable name that I can’t remember how to spell), but some folks had never really paid any attention until Lecrae came along and started getting some mainstream play (ok, that is probably a gross overstatement, but it is true for some).
But there have been some great artists through the years. I cut my teeth on groups like Dynamic Twins and SFC and Freedom of Soul (their song ‘Blue Sky Lies’ is still one of my favorites). I later listened to guys like T-Bone and Preachas who began to sound better and better. None of these folks got a whole lot of air-play on Christian radio (another reason I am not a huge fan of the medium) but they were able to put out a few great albums that were an encouragement to many, myself included.
Lately, Christian rap has had a huge surge in popularity (thanks to guys like Lecrae). I think this is a good thing for a couple of reasons:
- The new rappers seem to be solid theologically. They are writing whole albums about doctrine and the book of Romans, which I think is great.
- Rap songs allow the artist to talk about much deeper issues than your typical pop song. This is due primarily to the fact that you can get more words in a rap song (like three to four times as many). And it is easy to fit in words like ‘propitiation’ and ‘eschatology’ in rap music, not so much in other styles (trust me I’ve tried).
So I am thankful for the current popularity of Christian rap.
One of my favorite new Christian rap artists is Shai Linne. I actually met him at one point when he was serving as an intern at Mark Dever’s Church. Again, he is serious about doctrine and theology, and that is clear in his music. A great example of this is the album “The Church” which essentially takes each of the 9 Marks of a healthy Church (from Dever’s book) and dedicates a song to them. Where else are you going to hears songs about the importance of polity (government) and church discipline? It is a great concept for an album.
My favorite song on the album is Shai Linne’s ‘Expository Preaching.’ He speaks of its importance in the first verse. In verse 2 he addresses the congregation and in verse 3 he encourages the pastors (and offers a good definition). It is a great song about an important subject. Give it a listen and see what you think:
I think Christian rap has improved over the years and I think the new approach is here to stay, which is a good thing! You may not like the sound, but hopefully you can appreciate the content.