When Hip-Hop Lets The Saints In

I grew up playing basketball and listening to rap music.  Not in downtown LA, but in leafy middle class suburbs in the East Midlands.  I wanted to rebel like my hip hop heroes, but all I had to criticise was how kind my parents were and how well provided for I was.  My career in urban music never did take off.

I continue to listen to rap music however – very odd for a white, baptist church pastor as he approaches his 40th birthday, I know – but I now gladly supplement my old Public Enemy records with contemporary Christian rap.  And I never thought I’d say that.  I can’t stand some of the more awkward, cheesy Christian ventures into popular music.  But in Lecrae, Christ has an authentic, prophetic, voice not only for the church, but in the wider music world.

What’s more, Lecrae’s impact is now being seen and recognised in the secular press.  This article about Lecrae from the online news organisation, The Huffington Post, is worth a read in full.  Here’s a highlight:

In October, Lecrae found himself inside a cramped New York sound booth next to Sway Calloway, the 43-year-old MTV personality, rapper and journalist whose daily radio show, “Sway in the Morning,” is broadcast nationally on SiriusXM.

“We got a hybrid artist here,” Calloway told listeners. “Now, even I used to say he’s a Christian rapper. But he’s a rapper — who is a Christian.”

A quiet grin spread across Lecrae’s face. That’s a distinction he likes to make often. The way he explains it is you don’t call it Christian architecture, or a Christian pharmacy, or Christian pottery, when it is simply done by a Christian person. Rather, to be a Christian and also be an architect, or pharmacist, or potter, is supposed to mean that an individual performs those professions to the best of their ability, and with passion and excellence.