|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on June 9, 2015 at 7:40 PM|
“The concept of bringing organic food into Walmart. It may be great that you have your farmer’s market and you have your organic food and these local stores. But if it’s not at Walmart, it’s not reaching the masses.”
Artist Jidenna referencing his music and Wondaland Records.
Christian Hip Hop, Holy Hip Hop, or whatever one chooses to call it continues to struggle with support from mainstream media. A genre that has been around since the 80s with artist like MC Sweet, T-Bone, and Gospel Gangstaz has only recently received a nod from its counterparts as if to say, “We see you.”
In the early years even Christian’s were afraid to support the genre. They feared that with its hip hop base it was too worldly for church settings. While the world felt it was too preachy and religious for mainstream. So for the last 30 years the genre has become kind of like the tambourine player sitting next to you in church. You get it, find it necessary, and maybe even admirable but yet you still wish he/she would just put the tambourine down. Why? It’s too loud. It’s too much. It makes you feel like what you are doing in your effort to praise God is not enough.
I personally have begun to see signs of support for the genre through urban mainstream outlets like Sister 2 Sister Magazine and The BET Hip Hop Awards in support of artist like Dee-1 and Lecrae. It makes me feel good as I think to myself, finally they get it.
One may say why is it necessary for Christian artist to mesh with mainstream artist and their outlets? Why not keep the religion over there and the world over here? I say because there is a need. People, no matter what race, color, or level or ratchetness, want to hear music with a message.
Every time a considered “secular” artist makes a spiritual record it sells. Don’t believe me?
1. MC Hammer
-Pray (1990 Billboard Hot 100 2)
2. Mariah Carey Boyz II Men
-One Sweet Day (1995 US Billboard Hot 100 1)
3. Bone Thugs and Harmony
-Crossroads (1996 US Billboard Hot 100 1)
4. Kanye West
-Jesus Walks (2004 US Billboard Hot 100 11)
5. Carrie Underwood
-Jesus take the wheel (2005 US Billboard Hot 100 20)
-Dead and Gone (2009 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2)
7. Big Sean
-Blessings (2015 US Billboard Hot 100 2)
So don’t tell me people don’t want to hear songs with a Christian message because it’s already been proven that they do. And I think it’s necessary for Christian artist to be welcomed on the mainstream stage. Not just traditional Gospel artist, but all artists with a Christian message. Christian hip hop artist shouldn’t feel like they can’t consider their music “Christian” just so you will play it on your radio station or showcase them on your award show. Because the funny thing is they are not changing their music …just how it’s specified.
What’s the point of creating music with the sole desire to uplift people and bring souls to Christ if the “Christians” that run mainstream media don’t think your worthy of their platform? And if you can’t get your food (music) into Walmart (mainstream) where at least 60% of Americans shop then are you really feeding (reaching) people?
For more information about the genre:
Categories: Indie Music and Culture