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Gospel rap is a genre of rap music that talks about God and gives the biblical message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Many of the rappers are believers and are saved; many give God the Lord in their music, so although gospel rap is similar to secular music, the lyrics are pure, clean and tell the truth about God, His Kingdom, finding Jesus and becoming saved. Many of the gospel rap songs also talk about how the devil has taken over the world, and encourage every listener to take back what the devil tries to steal through rebuke and strength from the Holy Spirit and God's Word.
Gospel Rap's Lyrics
The lyrics of many gospel rappers are based on Scripture. Many songs are inspirational, positive, and send a message of hope and how to overcome the world. The rappers preach about Jesus Christ in their songs, and are constantly on fire for the Lord. Many people are searching for something in life, and this is what gospel rappers bring to the listener. The gospel rapper teach how to believe in Jesus, repent of past sins, constantly study God's Word, live a Christian lifestyle by following Jesus commandments, and being obedient. The message is that through Jesus Christ you can live a good life and that life can lead to eternal life in paradise. Gospel rap's lyrical delivery teaches, preaches, and testifies to this unchanging truth found in Scripture.
Why Gospel Rap Is Condemned?
The reason gospel rappers and their message of God's redemption is condemned is because of rap's secular history that often talked about the opposite, which is, drugs, money, sex, and a selfish, mean-spirited attitude toward life. So gospel rap is not always accepted because many congregations and believers do not understand gospel rap's purpose in worship. However, many gospel rappers encourage believers and non-believers to develop a relationship with Jesus, and look to God for guidance in their life.
What Do Scholars Say About Gospel Rap?
According to Barnes (2008), "The contemporary black church is challenged to provide diverse religious experiences that resonate with varied backgrounds, ages, and classes, and to strengthen evangelical efforts among younger persons. Gospel rap music may represent a potential mechanism to achieve these ends. Although studies have considered the history of secular popular culture, fewer studies have empirically assessed it's spiritual counterpart in the black religious experience." (319)
Barnes further states (2008), "Christian hip hop or holy hip hop, originally called gospel rap is a derivative of hip hop music that includes Christian/Biblical themes to convey one's faith experience. Although this music form is gaining popularity, especially among younger audiences it has generally had limited appeal. Just as some Christians have questioned its religious or spiritual authenticity, secular rap enthusiasts have questioned its cultural authenticity." (322)
Although gospel rap may not be accepted because it merges the spiritual with the secular, the redemption and salvation by giving the message of Jesus Christ makes up for rhyming beats. The expression of the love of Christ and the fact He died for the sins of mankind inspire listeners worldwide.
Barnes, S. (2008). Religion and Rap Music: An Analysis of Black Church Usage.
Review of Religious Research, 49(3), 319-338.