Examining the Greats from a Lens of the Greatest
Originally published Dec. 1, 2012.
There is an attitude of ill will towards hip-hop amongst Christians that is well founded, but implemented incorrectly. I have witnessed friends whose faith has blossomed turn away completely from hip-hop. If this is an aesthetic preference, I will not argue against you. However, if you find hip-hop qua hip-hop to be morally reprehensible, you are wrong.
I have neither valid nor sound arguments to rebuke a person's subjective selections of music. Arguments that attempt to qualify beauty fail, because the only objective part of aesthetic beauty is the knowledge that aesthetic beauty is subjective. This is a deductively found immovable category of human action.
It is possible for hip-hop songs to be morally reprehensible. Let there be no confusion, I do not advocate listening to any and every song that hosts the label hip-hop. I take offense to those who claim that all hip-hop is morally reprehensible. Here is my adjudicating philosophy; does the song blaspheme the Holy Spirit? If there is talk of acknowledged unrepentant sin, is it told as a story? Or is it an advocacy piece? I weigh the impact one reaps from listening to a song, versus the impact of not voting to put spins on a track. This grading rubric is applicable to other genres that have vocals. Any genre without vocals has no morally evaluative qualities (this statement is not a moral evaluation, but an epistemological one).
Below you will find lyrics to "Sign of the Times" by hip-hop extraordinaire Immortal Technique aka Felipe Coronel. This an affirmation of positive hip-hop. It causes one to consider the world around us in light of Christ.
Imagine a savior born in a Mexican hooptie,
persecuted single mother in a modern manger,
you'd crucify him again like a fucking stranger
Bringing it back to scripture assists to jog our memory, and to encourages new readers of the gospel with snippets of Christ. Here is Luke 2:7 (emphasis is my own)
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Post Scriptum: Here is some blasphemy by Jay-Z, Frank Ocean and Kanye West. Ocean: "What's a God to a non believer who don't believe in anything"? Jigga: "Hova flow from the Holy ghost, get the hell up out your seats, preach". Yeezy: "We formed a new religion, no sins as long as there's permission, and deception is the only felony... love is cursed by monogamy". Here is some blasphemy by Lady Gaga. Highlights include "In the most biblical sense I am beyond repentance... Jesus is my virtue and Judas is the demon I cling to". Meek Mill's track Amen is also morally reprehensible. Here are the lyrics. Highlights "I'm fittin to kill niggas in the building, Amen... pull up in the phantom watch them bitches catch the Holy Ghost". The J. Cole link above, on the word story, has a highlight of blasphemy, but the whole song is a story that once heard may be of benefit. The highlight comes from Missy Elliot "rock the boat, Poseidon". That is boldly pagan.