I remember as a new Christian people would quote these antiquated, flowery, profound lines from songs. They would skillfully deploy the quote like a baseball player executing a hit-and-run with a line drive over the second basemen’s head. The quotes would drop in the Bible Study or prayer meeting with powerful profundity. This was evidenced by the corporate, “Umm…” or “Amen.” I never quite got to the point of trying to execute this type of poetic contribution, but I have always appreciated it.
Now I believe there is a new bag of powder for our musical muskets. Here in 2013 the new hymns writers are hip-hop artists. Now before you shake me off with a pffffh, hear me out. I have seen a recent swell in the number of references to songs during a time of gospel-shaped discussion. And when I say reference I don’t mean that someone is saying, “Man did you hear Lecrae’s new track, that joint is fresh!” (they may say that but I don’t mean that). What I mean is people reference the hip-hop songs in order to add value to a gospel-shaped conversation.
In the last several months (and even this morning) I have heard multiple people reference a song by Lecrae, Shai Linne, Tedashii, and others to help further elucidate the point being made. This is a marked transition and development.
The question that remains is, “Why?” I’ll give you two reasons.
First, Christians have always reached for music to impress God’s truth upon our hearts. The hymns still do this. However, increasingly the hip-hop tracks are dominating.
Second, many Christian hip-hop artists (particularly the gospel-centered Reformed guys) are filling the doctrinal void left by many in the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) scene. Instead of singing sappy-ballads and prom songs to Jesus these guys are jamming so much passionate, gospel-rich, theologically dense, personally applicational truth into a 4 minute song. Passionate doctrine resonates.
I think this is a win for the kingdom. It is also a win for me because I not only like the content but the style of the music. I smile when I consider people at our church driving around, working out, or whatever while listening to this genre of music.