Unity is dead. It’s obvious right? Unity in the Christian Hip-Hop movement, culture, circle or whatever you want to call it is deceased. Let’s get the tombstone made and let it read “Here lies Unity. She never really had a chance.” It would be an honest assessment of Unity’s life cycle in our scene, too. She never really had a chance. And how could she have had a chance when everyone’s expectation of Unity created an atmosphere that she just couldn’t breathe in.
If you don't know about Turntable.fm yet, you will after this and will love it if you are in the U.S. We take pride in being early adopters when it comes to all things online and when we heard about Turntable.fm it sounded more than interesting and had to check it out.
Well what is Turntable.fm? It is a chatroom much like AOL chatrooms of the 90's but the room is set up like a dive bar or club and each person has a cool avatar that are available as points are earned from good DJ'ing.
“You are a legalist.” GASP! That’s a dreaded title no one in all of Christendom wants to be branded with. Its the modern evangelical equivalent to the Pharisees and if you’re familiar with biblical references then you’ll know that they aren’t spoken of very highly in scripture. They were actually the people Jesus had His most heated interactions with. Given the dogmas we see in many discussions held in our scene, a person has to ask “Is legalism alive and well in Christian Hip-Hop?” So I talked to a few people involved in shaping and influencing our scene and asked them their thoughts on the topic of legalism in Christian Hip-Hop.
We've all experienced it before. One of our favorite emcees or groups is about to drop a new album. We get hyped about it as we think about the first album they released, which came out two years ago, but is still in heavy rotation on our iPod. Their first project had such an impact on us that we remember exactly where we were when we first listened to it. We've loved the songs they've recently featured on and now the moment is here. The new one is ready to drop. We can't wait to hear them spit over new beats and, in new ways, recapture the feeling we had when we first heard them. We didn't even listen to any of the previews that already came out because we want to hear the project as a whole for the very first time. It's Monday and we know that it will be available for download at midnight. Like a kid on Christmas morning, when midnight strikes, we rush to iTunes to download it, turn off our phone, run out to the car so we can play it in the best sound system we have, crank up the volume and drive around while we listen, fully prepared to hit rewind when necessary. And then the unthinkable happens: the emcee switched up his style! What's going on? The beats sound different. They're a talented group, so it's not completely wack, but what happened?
Recently some popular artists in the Christian Music scene made a decision to stop making music that appeals to the “christian market” in lieu of making music that appeals to the general market. In fact, the word that they used to describe what they do is “secular” music. I believe, as long as they as HUMAN BEINGS stay rooted in scripture, I think it is possible to make “secular” music for the glory of God and advancement of His kingdom.
Have you seen those cheesy novelty tees? You know the one’s I’m talking about right? Shirts that aim to remake a store brand and Christianize it. Stuff like “OURAPOSTLE” or this one or maybe you’ve seen this one. I always cringe a little bit when I see stuff like this and its honestly what comes to mind when I think of a tee shirt that supposed to represent our faith. I think “where’s the originality? why does this shirt feel so cheap?” Fortunately not all shirts that represent our faith are the same. In the last few years we’ve seen the rise of some brands that have raised the standard of what a faith based brand could be like. Brands like NOTW and S & N, just to name a couple, have definitely elevated the standard in Christian apparel. But there is another name that has been introduced into the scene that has pushed the proverbial “bar” to another notch. Enter: B3AR FRUIT™.
It’s no small feat to answer the question "Is Christian Hip Hop is wack?". Saying that Christian Hip Hop is wack is almost like a “yo mama” joke for people like myself who grew up on it. I’m personally invested in this genre through buying albums and concert tickets, as well as evangelizing through Christian Hip Hop. It’s challenging to be completely objective as well as comprehensive in answering, "Is Christian Hip Hop is wack?". I’m not trying to make a blanket assessment about a multi-faceted genre with thousands of emcees across the world, most of which I have never heard of. But lovingly, I’ll try to dissect the trends I noticed in Christian Hip Hop and make a conclusion.
Does anybody remember mixtapes? No, I mean real mixtapes. I'm not talking about a bunch of songs thrown together that lack the quality to be called an album. Nor am I referring to a thematic compilation album, or a free collection of songs. I'm talking about mixtapes.