Christian Hip Hop or Christian Rap?

Hip Hop vs Rap

2 Timothy 2:14
Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

I don’t often get into the whole hip-hop versus rap debate, because it’s a quarrel about words, and often ends up being a waste of time. When someone wants to strive & argue about words without a clear definition of those words, they are not trying to help you – they are trying to subvert you, i.e. destroy your identity.

Let’s seek knowlege and understanding, and end the debates, so we can focus on Christ.

Simple Facts and History

Where did the word “hip hop” come from?

The etymology of the word hip hop extends from two different words.

“Hip” is a word that means cool, current, and in the know. That word has been used since 1898.

“Hop” is a movement that takes energy to lift your feet from the ground.

The term “hop” has also been used to denote a party with dancing. Everybody’s heard the Christmas song: “Rocking around, the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop” is a song written in 1958, by Brenda Lee.

The actual music & expression was originated by a DJ, Kool Herc in 1973. All it was was a dj spinning a party, and deciding to repeat the breakbeat on 2 records instead of just spinning one. This, plus his rhythmic microphone talking a.k.a. rapping made it easier for people to dance.

A few years later, Zulu Nation “Culture” was originated by Afrikan Baambata… who was a gangster who liked the way DJ Kool Herc remixed music. He switched his gang from crime to music in 1975 when he started djing.

Hip Hop in the business was originated by promoters and businessmen in the late 1970’s. The phrase “hip-hop” was coined by a rapper from the Sugar Hill Gang on the widely promoted song “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979. This is where the word “hip-hop” became its own term.

Hip Hop the religion was originated by KRS one in the late 1990s. He made it up.

All these men are still alive as of today. But which one originated the actual music? If you look at a calendar, the originator was obviously DJ Kool Herc. For the originator (not the followers), it was just a new way to mix music and motivate the crowd at a party. The actual term “hip hop” was just two separate words that were put together by a rapper to describe the new form of party music.

Understand this: there is no sin in inventiveness, creativity, technology, or in the spirit of wisdom. These things come from God.

However there is sin in joining with idolatry, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.

Babylon’s Confusion vs Kingdom Accuracy

So why is hip hop called so many different things? Is it a gang, a culture, a business, a religion? Or is it just music and expression? Does it even matter?

Babylon is all about confusion, and men trying subvert others. I’m more concerned about teaching people how to be “Christian” – whatever they call their music. Teaching people how to really follow Christ is my goal.

Because you could call your music the so called “right thing” and still be wrong as the doctrine of Jezebel or the error of Balaam. You could have the right title and still be a syncretistic idol worshipper presenting Jesus as one god among many. What’s more important is to teach people how to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

If someone says: “I hate hip hop, I only do Christian rap!” But they still copy the world, they still follow the doctrine of Jezebel and Balaam, they still won’t serve or support their church financially, they still want fame and a record deal with Babylon, and they still want to buy & sell and promote their books, cds, dvds, brands, etc. in the church (which is supposed to be a house of prayer)… Then what’s the point? They are no different than the world system, even if they grabbed the so called “right title.” There is no spiritual profit.

All the zeal, passion, and conviction in the world, without the passion to seek the knowledge that goes along with it…. can be very unfruitful. God is sending out sharp arrows not random buck shots.

In other words, if you are arguing between the words hip hop & rap, you’re in the wrong argument! Instead of worrying about hip hop vs rap let’s define what a “Christian” is!

Sight Reading vs Phonics

A newer way to teach children to read is sight reading. It gets quicker results and quicker confidence because it teaches children to look at pictures and words and memorize them. However, in the long run, teaching children phonics – which is how to break words into pieces and sound them out- produces better readers. The shortcut is easier but the fundamental method produces stronger results.

In the same way, it’s better to teach someone concepts from the Word of God and give them permanent building blocks of understanding than try to have them “sight read” based on debatable concepts. Sight reading can get quicker results, but also can cause fundamental understanding to be lacking.

Shortcuts to Holiness don’t Last Long

In the same way we could get quick results by teaching people that TV is demonic and was invented by a Satan Worshipper. Whoever believed you and threw away their TV would probably benefit greatly from it. They would be smarter, less covetous and lustful, and their family would communicate better. However, even though it would benefit the person that believed it, that doesn’t make it necessarily true. It’s better to teach people in truth and from the heart how to limit or eliminate their television viewing based on the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

Truth that is implemented from understanding and from the heart usually stands the test of time. The Word that is implemented without solid understanding can be easily stolen or lost in tribulation (Mark 4).

Let’s not lose focus on Jesus Christ.

Don’t get caught up in unfruitful and questionable arguments with people whose goal is to subvert you with zeal. Just be a true minister of the Word of God and the purity of Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:2
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Proverbs 19:2
2 Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.

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