What We Can Learn from Thi’sl Being Added to Rotation on Sway in the Morning
A couple of days ago, Thi’sl posted on Instagram that one of his new songs, “Lord Help Me”, had beat out a Mac Miller song (“Break The Law”) feat. Juicy J. on Sway In The Morning’s The A&R Room. To put it short, “Lord Help Me” will be added to rotation on Sway’s show.
This is huge, when you consider the size of and influence of Sway’s platform on Shade45 on Sirius/ XM Radio. And honestly, it couldn’t have happened to a better guy. As many of you know, Thi’sl is very active in his local community and in his church. Plus he has been putting out great music for a long time. It’s dope to see that new people are about to hear his music and get impacted by his message.
A question I love to ask is when something happens is, why? The answer can often help you prevent something bad from happening again, or give you the ability to re-create something good that just happened. I think the answer to why is Thi’sl’s song “Lord Help Me” connecting with Sway’s audience, as an important one to be considered. Understanding the why could serve as a blueprint.
Thi’sl has three unique characteristics as an artist that separate him from most other artists. One, his story is amazing. He really sold dope. He really did some criminal behavior. He has a real police record. Yet Jesus saved Him. Most rappers that rap about selling dope didn’t really do it. Or if they did, they didn’t do it at the level the claim they did.
Secondly, as an artist, Thi’sl has a unique ability to convey emotion. On his magnum opus, “I Hate You”, Thi’sl not only expressed his hate for crack and its effect on the community, but he also made the listener hate it too! It’s one thing for someone to express their feelings. It’s another for someone to express their feelings, yet state their case in such a way that you now adopt their same feelings. That’s powerful. That’s Thi’sl though.
Finally, Thi’sl has a unique perspective. No one in mainstream music has Thi’sl’s background and current perspective. The ex-drug dealer who loves Jesus. It’s a perspective that even if you aren’t a Christian, you can respect because Thi’sl has turned his life around and is now doing something positive.
Thi’sl’s song “Lord Help Me” definitely has all three of the traits. His constant references to “we” in the song let’s you know he is not just reporting on a story, but is telling one he lives. The emotion of him desiring to pray for the situation makes the listener want to pray too. And of course the song emphatically states that Christ is the answer to all of these issues going on in Thi’sl’s neighborhood.
I believe that the third trait is one that every Christian rapper has. Every Christian rapper may not have the same background as Thi’sl, but God has saved us all from something. And whatever that something is mixed with our present hope in Jesus, makes our perspectives unique. It’s why we can address any topic, yet always point back to the ultimate solution over the course of a song, album or project. This perspective is one that can’t be easily duplicated by another artist, yet I believe can be relatable to many hip hop fans depending on how it’s presented.
This is a great time to be a Christian who loves or does hip hop. Whether you like or create theological rhymes or you like or create more artsy music, more and more people are taking note. A lot of publications are writing articles and even posting interviews with Christian rappers outside of just Lecrae and Andy Mineo. This is a good thing. Our message is getting out there. As the opportunities continue to grow outside of the CHH bubble, I hope we all keep in mind what makes us unique and why God has us there. People’s lives truly change, when they hear the gospel.