Lecrae Lands the Cover of ‘Christianity Today,’ Christian Hip Hop Featured
Though this is not his first time featured, 116 President Lecrae landed the cover of the May Issue of Christianity Today, the popular Christian Magazine on Theology, Church and Culture. In an issue dedicated primarily to Christian hip hop, the focal point of the issue is the controversial headline: “Why the Gospel Needs Hip-Hop.”
In the cover story entitled “W.W. Jay-Z“, Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology of Southern Baptist Seminary, writes that Christian hip hop can be used to call the church back to Christ:
Listen to the new Christian hip-hop once, and you’ll note just how theological it is. The first time I heard a song by artist Flame was also the first time I heard the heresy “modalistic monarchianism” denounced by name in any song. “That’s not the Scriptures that’s confusion, / and it takes stabs at the hypostatic union,” raps the Louisville, Kentucky–based artist, before explaining the hypostatic union (the union of Jesus’ divinity and humanity).
Moore’s article focuses primarily on artists like Lecrae, Trip Lee, shai linne, Flame and others who are a part the Neo-Calvinist movement. Throughout the piece, Dr. Moore makes the case that hip hop can deliver the good news like no other genre. As a result, the biggest impact Christian hip hop artists may have is not in the streets, but rather in the Church. He summarizes his argument near the end of the article this way:
Maybe Christian hip-hop is not about using hip-hop as a “bridge” between evangelical faith and urban youth. Instead, maybe it’s about building a bridge in the other direction: a bridge of empathy for a largely white, middle-class church to a fatherless, economically forgotten, and sometimes angry youth culture. If so, maybe it can help pull American Christianity out of its white middle-class ghetto and into the vastness of the kingdom of God—a kingdom that has room for both Jonathan Edwards and Jay-Z.
Elsewhere in the May Issue, Lecrae, Trip Lee, Propaganda, shai linne, Beautiful Eulogy and Alex Medina are featured in the article Hip Hop Theologians and Preachers as artists/ ministers who are leading the Neo-Calvinist movement in Hip Hop. Cross Movement, Grits and T-Bone are also mentioned for the legacy they have left on genre as well.
In addition, Ralph Watson from Columbia Theological Seminary pens an article in defense of Sho Baraka’s use of the N-Word on the song “Jim Crow.” In his article aptly titled, “A Defense of the N-Word in Christian Hip Hop“, he states that Sho HAD to use that word in order to address several specific issues:
The N-word isn’t only appropriate in Sho Baraka’s work, it’s also necessary. Sho Baraka uses this language to raise issues of race and class in a way that brings a historic discussion on liberation into today’s context. To not use the language of the people, the language of the masses, in this important conversation would be inauthentic.
As you can see, the May Issue of Christianity Today is jam-packed with content discussing what’s going on in our music community right now. While it may not tell our entire story, it highlights several of the prominent artists in our scene and shines the light on much of the great work that God has blessed them to do. I encourage you to support their coverage of our music scene. You can subscribe to Christianity Today here.
- Do you plan to check out this issue of Christianity Today?
- Do You agree with Dr. Moore’s assessment that Christian Hip Hop’s biggest impact is in the church?
- How would you respond to the statement, Why the Gospel Needs Hip-Hop?