Through decades coming, Hip-hop has taken a fast hold and has become an integral part of living. What used to be seen as the music of the streets is no longer limited to just the streets, a specific set of community or group of people, Its now part of pop culture and modern age. Hip-hop is everywhere. It has influenced fashion, music, dancing, communication, communities, media, and so much more.
Christian Hip-hop on the other hand is Hip-hop music that is faith based, about Jesus, and full of the light of Gods word and message. It is meant to inspire, bless, uplift, elevate, motivate and bring positivity as against violence, drugs, crime, etc. Nigeria is a country much influenced by the western cultures and like everything that came from the west, it has welcomed Hip-hop, which has now become part of its society, the streets and modern living.
Much earlier this year, Christian rapper DaboomSha in his single “SMH” spoke out in his lyrics calling out for a change in the industry.
“Ready for the war but the church ain’t ready yet, Same old faces on the posters of church events,Same old gospel artiste. Mehn! ain’t nothing changed. I made a vow never to attend the experienceuntil i see a christian rapper up in the stadium. That’s why the youth would rather be at the discotheque. This culture we stand for; this ministry we rap for; is not accepted or celebrated on their platforms.Church find it hard to accept us because we don’t sound like praise and worship music.(They say) Christian hip hop is worldly, satanic.” – DaboomSha (SMH lyrics)
I think the support for CHH in Nigeria, may be a tough one coming, due largely to the the nature of the genre in itself. Its a music adopted, yet having accepted it, we could use it and relate with it to our present cultures, living, communities, just like the secular music industry is doing and gaining huge success and responses from it.
Secondly, Churches, should realize that CHH can be used in these times to get to much more people and young ones out there and there are a lot of Christian rappers that have the right message of God’s word and are great role models. I admire and commend churches who have influenced the way CHH is perceived and have used its platforms to promote Gospel Rap artists all over the country and then to the world. We need more of these examples to further expand the CHH industry in this part of the world.
The church is home to many from the streets who are part of Hip-hop culture, don’t ask them to stop being what they are, they can love and preach Jesus where and as they are. I guess that’s part of what Award winning international Christina rapper Lecrae hinted in parts of his 2012 “Church Clothes“.
Its also important not to assign blames, but for Nigerian Hip-hop artists to work hard in making music that people and the churches can relate with and can be blessed by. CHH will grow rapidly in the coming months and we know of several artists to watch out for this year and others who are coming out with fresh Hip-hop projects, concerts and much more.
What Is The Way Forward?
This quest for a better CHH industry in Nigeria has seen some of Nigerian Christian rappers come together to form the CHH Alliance, a platform for those passionate about CHH to interact.
Christian Hip-hop is about preaching Christ and God is using it as a tool to save and inspire people everywhere. We should support this move, we support Christian Hiphop.
Written by: Mark Ogbeni