Back in September 2005 I recommended the rap the music of Shai Linne. I think Shai Linne is trying to accomplish a very difficult and maybe impossible task, making the rap genre a Christ-centered, God-exulting vehicle of the gospel of sovereign grace. Therefore, I commend Shai and all those so committed. Another such brother has recently come to my attention. His name is Curtis Allen a.k.a Voice. His rap CD is called Progression. On it he seeks to lay down rap lyrics and music that are theologically accurate and grace infused. Admittedly, I want to be careful in my recommendaton of rap music. While it is at one level encouraging to see reformed brothers using the medium of rap to dissimenate the gospel, rap does not readily lend itself as a medium of worship. Rap my nature is hedonistic and narcissitic. Those who are the most successful are those who are the most hedonistic and narcissitic. One of the aspects that I appreciate about Voice's album is that he readily admits this in his cut All Rap Is:
All rap is, is the lust of the flesh that is easily seen through drugs and sex.
All rap is, is the lust of the eyes, almost any video can help you realize that,
All rap is, is the boasting of what he has and does from how we live to MTV cribs.
I ain't hatin' but to me rap's the glorification of what led Christ to propitiation.
So, when I recommend a rap artist, as I did with Shai Linne and as I do so with Voice, I must offer this important caveat. There is a difference between worship and Christian entertainment. I know the lines are often blurred and too many of our churches are nothing more than Sunday morning's poor imitation of Saturday evening's juke-joints, or concert halls. Nevertheless, there is a necessary distinction between worship and entertainment, which we must maintain. Christian rap has entertainment value for those so inclined to be entertained. Yet, its worship value is at best questionable, if at all possible. Yet, Shai Linne, and now Voice are seeking to find that illusive place where rap entertainment gives way to worship. Is it possible to find? Maybe. Maybe not. Then again, maybe we should not even ask them to do that. Maybe we should just appreciate it for what it is, brothers seeking to glorify God with their talents and encouraging others to do the same. If that is their end, then let me say, "I am encouraged and challenged!" Keep it up, keep it real, and keep it glorifying Christ.
By the way, the cut Maybe is pretty good too:
Maybe you're not one who trusts in God
And maybe you think that life is too hard
And maybe you think faith is what you do
Well maybe, just maybe, its not about you.