Ever since my first release “Pages of Life” came out in 2000 on (ReadyRock Records) I have been in a labor of love trying to explain to other Christians that I’m a Hip Hop artist, not a “Christian rapper” (there is a difference). I have tried to use a number of artists/groups/bands as examples including (P.O.D, The Fray, One Republic, Underoath, Switchfoot, Relient K, and U2) as potential examples of what I do.
Till this day I still try to tell Christians I’m doing something similar to what those artists are doing, but they don’t seem to get it, or they just don’t want to. I’ve wondered if the concept of a Christian making music that focuses more on their life experiences is something that makes them uncomfortable because it causes them to look in the mirror and not hide behind the mask of religion, and calls them out from their comfort zone. I’ve wondered if it is something that is a rough concept for them to grasp because they are still immature in their faith. I’m learning that it’s probably a combination of both, among other things. The reality of it is that most Christians have never seen this concept fleshed out before. Especially a lot of believers like me who are Afro-American and come from the black church, and who are primarily only familiar with “black gospel music”.
What I have also noticed is that believers who come from the more white contemporary Christian context are a lot more free and familiar with this concept and have seen this in their culture before, although there are exceptions to both rules as I often find out first hand via my social media pages, etc. But a lot of Christians regardless of their respective races just aren’t familiar with the concept of Christians not directly making music about the gospel itself. Their only association with Christians as it relates to music is them doing “gospel music”.
If a Christian is making music that doesn’t mention or reference the gospel directly or explicitly, their knee jerk reaction is to automatically assume that particular artist/band is ashamed of the gospel, their faith, and is seeking fame. When in all honesty, this accusation exposes an immaturity in the accuser that they probably have a hard time acknowledging. As it stands, the assumption at large is to assess that if an artist who is Christian was “really mature” they would be making music explicitly about the Gospel. When in reality the more you grow in grace the more comfortable you are with making music that focuses on the actual fruit and beauty that comes from knowing the gospel.
For the record.. I don’t have Any problems whatsoever with Christians who make music that highlights the gospel explicitly. My issue actually is with the Christians who have a problem with the artists on the other end of the spectrum of faith. The reality is this.. These two opposing sides have more in common, and are actually more a reflection of Jesus than we think they are. Meaning.. There was a side of Jesus that was very direct and explicit in telling people who He was. And there was another profound side of Jesus that was much more coded and parable driven where He would paint a picture of who He is, in a way that provoked thought and caused the listeners get an often times beautiful and even graphic image of life on earth and the kingdom of heaven.
I’ve come to the harsh reality and conclusion that the only way for some believers to understand this concept is for God himself to open their eyes, and for myself and artists like me to show them what it looks like. And I think that I’m ready to show and prove. Until then.. I am praying for you all, and I will continue in this labor of love.. It ain’t over till it’s over. Love y’all! - Lifey #NewAlbum #TheProfit #ThisSummer