Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Music Thing - My Hip Hop and R&B Dilemma

Back in 2000, I was literally addicted to Hip Hop. I had been collecting CDs for a while—DMX, Luke, Ruff Rydas, Nas, Jay-Z, Kurupt, Tha Dogg Pound, Snoop, Dre, Suga Free, Akinyele, Juvenile, Biggie, Pac, Eve, DJ Quik, Trina—you name it, I had it. And if you named it, and I didn't have it, I would have gone and gotten it. You couldn’t get in the car with me without me bumping one of these artists full blast.

One morning I woke up, got dressed, and headed down to my car only to find that it had been broken into and all my CDs had been stolen. I was devastated. The police took a report over the phone, but refused to come out and look for fingerprints or take pictures. In other words, justice would never be served. My CDs were GONE and I would never get them back. I was miserable.

A few days later, I heard that little voice that I hear from time to time and it said that the reason my CDs had been stolen was because I had no business listening to them in the first place. Nothing about my music said that I was a Christian. I argued back and forth with the voice for months and eventually decided to buy ALL the same CDs over again. I was very stubborn…and I LOVED my music. Looking back I can say that at the time I even idolized the music and the artists. Now you know that was not AT ALL pleasing to God...

For nine more years I listened to filth. I thought about the filth that I listened to. And then I engaged in filthy behavior. All the while I knew that it was wrong, but I just kept right on at it--The filth is what made me fit in, right? (Stinking thinking.)

Fast forward to 2009. The little voice got louder. It told me to get rid of the music. Throw everything away…EVERYTHING—even the R&B. It was not conducive to the life I want to live…obedience is better than sacrifice. But, I didn’t want to sacrifice and I didn't want to obey. For the next few months I reasoned with the voice. Could I sell the CDs on Amazon or Craigslist? NO. They needed to be thrown away. Could I give them to someone who would appreciate them? NO. They needed to be thrown away. Could I sell them at a yard sale? NO. They needed to be thrown away. I thought about how much money I had spent over the years. I thought about all the places I had been when I first heard my favorite songs. I thought about all the people I had known. I put the CDs in my changer and played them loudly, but the music didn’t do anything for me anymore…and still the voice said to get rid of them...

God also placed a few people in my life who He knew I needed to hear…one girl who I got back in touch with on Facebook just out of the blue mentioned that a few years ago she had gone through the same struggle with music. We went to high school together and she loved hip hop just as much as I did (and maybe even more). She said she had lots of magazines and all the CDs you could imagine. Her husband was in love with hip hop as well. She said they both decided that the messages in many of the songs did not coincide with their Christian walk and so they threw all their CDs away. They got rid of all their magazines. They turned their speakers to more positive things and they hadn't looked back. She said that she totally understood how I felt and that she would support me and pray with me. Thank God for Sharisma.

Second…God placed a 13 year old young man in my life who proudly blasted Christian artists like Lecrae, Trip Lee, The Ambassador, Fred Hammond, Tye Tribbette, Tha T.R.U.T.H., etc. He was unashamed to tell his father that he didn't want to listen to Jay-Z. I thought back to when I was 13 and just wanted to fit in. I thought about the dances I did and the songs I loved and I hung my head. I NEVER would have asked someone to turn off Ice Cube and put on Kirk Franklin. NEVER. Here was a 13 year old standing boldly and witnessing by standing out from the crowd and proclaiming his love for God and here I was 27 years old and afraid of what a life without hip hop would be. I thank God for Shomari. He has been one of my biggest inspirations and my prayer is that even as he grows older he will stand firm on his beliefs, regardless of what the crowd is doing.

My conviction ended up being so strong that I threw away the CDs…and they were everywhere. Just when I thought I had trashed the last of them, others would pop up in unexpected places and tempt me all over again. But I kept tossing. I deleted my old youtube and pandora playlists.

I replaced the old hip hop and R&B titles with gospel music...and I haven't looked back.

Now if you get in the car with me, if I’m not playing Christian rap I am either listening to a motivational speaker, a message from church, or something else positive and uplifting. I am trying my hardest to keep a right mind. I'm trying to be an example for my children. (You can't imagine the joy I feel in my spirit when my two year old waves her hands and chants, "I'mma Saint, I'mma Saint..." It's too cute.)

Everyone's walk is different. Some people listen to and process music differently than I did. For me, the negative music had me thinking all kinds of negative and ungodly things. It was an idol for me and it HAD TO GO. I am thankful that God was patient with me. 10 years ago, He placed on my heart JUST what needed to be done. For 10 years I didn't want to hear it. I disobeyed Him. Now I have finally listened to His direction and I am VERY happy. My desire is no longer towards dropping it like it's hot or candy shops, and I am NOT missing out at all.


  1. This is beautiful!! I have been studying for one of my next careers, and couldn't agree more that what we input...we will output. Garbage in....garbage out. In order for us to have a positive and fulfilling life, we have to surround ourselves with positive people, music, inspirational audios, etc. It's funny, but I did the same thing quite a few years back that you did...maybe we are related...JUST MAYBE...wink

  2. cant say all hip-hop is garbage, Yes some songs maybe but i like to think of hip-hop as a way to tell a story to those who can relate...is poetry gabarge too? I would think the average african american christian should relate to hip-hop at least the songs that speak to our struggles. Whats funny is even christian rap is still rap, meaning preceived by the mass as ungodly, play it in the wrong part of town and cops, old people and the unaware will look at you the same as if it were Jay-Z. Now, dont get me wrong I understand that walk I knew someone like that boy you mention when i was in highschool, He is the reason i can listen to some Gospel now. But hip-hop has saved my life a few times so i cant say its all bad. Songs do move you and I believe in Gospel its about letting Christ in to manifest and i see hip-hop and R&B true hip-hop (not club joints)as a door to the struggles of life. Tell me if you going thru a bad break-up what CD do you reach for the Anthony Hamilton or the Marvin Sapp? Vice Versa if you just getting over lossing someone I going for the Marvin Sapp- " Never Would have made it.."