Diss tracks in Christian Hip Hop???
I’ve been listening to Christian Hip Hop (CHH) for a long time. It was in the early 90s when I got my first two CHH tapes: I.D.O.L. King and Freedom of Soul. Yeah, bruh… tapes. Like, cassette tapes. I grew up thinking that any song that didn’t mention Jesus was “devil music”, so the only way I could hear rap was if it was gospel. I used to wear those tapes out. I had no idea what those dudes were saying most of the time, but I was rockin them hard. Were they mad corny? Probably. But I was a little kid, so everything with a fast beat was cool.
Then I got a little older and graduated to Gospel Gangstaz and A-1 Swift CDs. Were they corny? Sometimes. But I was still rockin with them. The Gospel Gangstaz weren’t all that bad early on. They were talking about some real issues. I don’t feel bad for having been a fan. But years later, I would regress into an era of my life I refer to as “the Grapetree years”. It was a dark period of shiny album covers, marginal production, and awful raps. All of which, I thought was awesome.
By the time I got to college, it seemed like CHH was changing, at least in my eyes. Cross Movement was beginning to put out new artists like Da Truth. Production quality was rising. Wordplay was better. All around quality was better. And since then, it’s continued to get better and better. Now CHH is much like the underground scene of secular rap.
With its growth there seem to be some linkages to secular rap that I can’t say I’m 100% cool with. Lecrae is probably the biggest name in CHH. He’s used his name to build a platform that allows him to frequent BET stages, from which he shares the gospel. He’s also teamed up with DJ Cannon (a well-known secular DJ) to create a couple of mixtapes. Last year, Flame (another CHH artist that’s been around a while) chose to show his disagreement with Lecrae’s style by putting out a diss record of sorts. The song is called #1 Spot. See it below, and we’ll pick up after you listen.
Here’s the thing, CHH has come a long way. Along the way several artist have chosen different paths. Some take the traditional route, choosing to spend their careers traveling from church to church, performing for youth groups and the like. Others have chosen to try to reach outside of the church walls and grab a group of people who are listening for a specific sound but are hungry for some Truth. Neither path is wrong.
With this song, I feel like one artist is confronting another, in a very public way, to tell him that he disagrees with his methods. In principle, that’s fine. It’s fine to have disagreements in the church. There have always been disagreements. But to use such a public avenue to voice those disagreements seems wrong to me. If the point of making this music is to help people see Jesus, then how exactly is that goal accomplished with this song? If I’m a non-Christian and this is the song that introduces me to CHH, why would I want to continue to listen? What would I get from it? If the purpose is to get Lecrae’s attention because you feel he’s doing it wrong, then wouldn’t a simple phone call be more appropriate?
One of my favorite artist, Dre Murray, apparently had either a song like this written about him or some unkind words said about him. His response was appropriate. View it below:
That’s it for today. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Until next time…