There is a cross between, outreach and edification that I’ve found, which pops up in CHH. There is a sense of responsibility towards the Christian artist who gets involved in Rap music. Two alternatives I have come across when I question their motives; either to EDIFY or OUTREACH.
I am focussing on the outreach element of UKCHH/CHH that has always been a part of it since the inception back around 1999. The likes of GreenJade, Dwayne Tryumf, G.I.F.T.E.D. and even my own personal experiences as a Christian Rapper.
What I’ve Found
I’ve found over the past two decades, that there is a repetitive trend. The heart to outreach to see souls saved, transformed by the gospel through the music. This in itself is a great thing to see and something that I think is integral to continue as part of the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20). We aim to perform to the people who listen to rap music. There is a direct correlation in sound and bars that correlate to the listener. It is relatable.
So I am not slamming that way of approach as I don’t see that changing much in the next 10 years. I, however, see that there is a constant chase to “keep up with the Joneses” with a desire to listen to secular counterparts primarily to find what type of beats we should ride, and melodies we should work with. Mostly emptied of creativity and blank canvas initiation.
Do we substitute a lot of our creativity because we aim to reach more than create to edify?
Normally we accept what is current, more so than what is creative and unique, don’t we? How do we define Christian Rap creatively? What is our perception of its independence? If we were the forerunners in rap/hip-hop music globally how would we progress and develop original content?
How do we define Christian Rap creatively?
There is an element of risk, that comes with creating something original but that’s what we need alongside the popular sounds, we need it to grow larger than JUST outreach. Outreach only limits our creativity to what is current and not to genuine creativity. In order to have the unsaved hear our music, we are told and persuaded it needs to be current. Bringing us to the “forced creativity” point.
When looking for a beat, questions pass the mind like, “does it sound like Drake, Stormzy, Giggs etc…” which in itself has a place when sampling creative elements, but there is a subtle plagiarism that happens when we aim to make similar music just to reach, and we teach that subverted to all CHH heads. This needs to be adapted to suit the Kingdom as a whole.
…we are all creative in some way as ‘that’s the way God made us…
Put aside that fact that we are all creative in some way as ‘that’s the way God made us; in his likeness’, let’s just take a moment to honour the Spirit of God who works in us creatively and with His power. When we exercise this part of our relationship with God as music artists and listeners we cultivate a different response to making and consuming music. Not just for popular notions but edifying notions also that bring us close to God. With this, we can allow for more creativity and enjoyment for those who want to explore and have fun with this art of rap music, especially in CHH.
Let us not overlook edification for outreach only. There are great opportunities to develop your creativity, without the constant barrage of expectation to “PLEASE” the listener.
What are your thoughts? Comment Below.
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