The Saviour of Christian Music is Not a White Guy With a Guitar…

It’s a Black Man on a Mic.

At first I thought it was merely a result of my ineptitude as a blogger. 

I mean when you’ve giving away one of the best albums of the year and you’re struggling to find a taker something’s gotta be wrong, right?

Then I started to notice the underwhelming coverage that Lions And Liars was getting on the web in general. Hey! Sho Baraka’s reformed (as in theology) style of rap is a sub genre of a sub genre of a sub genre. No wonder he’s off the map.

Then the aptly named ‘Under The Radar’ podcast airs a special rap edition. The music is incredible (download it here) but the host sounded like he was already bracing himself for the backlash. What the problem?

The Christian music scene doesn’t need a new star, a new hero, or a new trendsetter. But we do need someone to save us from an army effeminate, doctrine-phobic mystics, and the ability to play barre chords is not necessarily a requirement.

Man-up

To borrow a line from Sho, when you have ‘hip hop minus all the thugging’ you’re still left with something inherently manly. On the other hand, take a pinch of ‘God is my girlfriend’ sentiments, sung in an effeminate vocal style and smeared with guyliner and it may be marketable, but it won’t make Driscoll’s playlist.

Word

The new rap is most bible-saturated form of music around today. Proof? Who are the champions for this new style of music? Old white preachers. Mark Dever (a man whose church regards Isaac Watts as a little edgy) interviewed Voice & Shai Linne.

John Piper got Lecrae to rap in a Sunday service at Calvinism H.Q. (aka Bethlehem Baptist Church).

Mark Driscoll had Lecrae & Tedashii over to jam at Mars Hill to the studied indifference of 9000 bemused Seattle cage fighting software programmers.

Why did this happen?

These preachers love the word and they love musicians who love the word.

This is something of a sea change as far as ‘urban’ music goes (and why urban? Do all the white guys live on the farm?). Marred by self-actualisation & the prosperity gospel and hamstrung by a ridiculous allegiance to King James English, too often black gospel artists have sounded like funky positive thinking emissaries from the 17th century.

Sunday morning

That all well and good. But can you rap corporately?

No.

And that’s probably a good thing.

Because at the moment it’s hard to tell who’s a worship leader and who’s not. It used to be easy. The worship leader was the one with a hole in the middle of his guitar.

But now he has a Strat, and a band, and a light show. He’s just like any other band leader (except his band gigs every Sunday morning). This problem isn’t the hardware. It’s the songs.

Let’s call him Don

Don has a Transcendental Experience of God.
Don commemorates that in a song.
Don sings that song at every gig for the next 3 years. 
Cool.

Don brings the song into a worship setting and teaches it to everyone.
They sing about Don’s mountain top experience.
Some identify. Some don’t.
Don introduces a few more mountain top songs.
Touching the divine right here, right now starts to become the expectation for a normal time of worship.  
Not so cool.

Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus.
When he got up off the floor he carried on down the road.
He didn’t build a roadside tabernacle and go back there every Sunday expecting to feel the same Holy Ghost high.

Imagine a testimony time where after every story of deliverance, healing, financial provision the whole congregation jumped up and started confessing that it had happened to them too.

Crazy huh?
Let’s make sure we’re not doing that when we sing.

This is me.

I’m a white guy with a guitar. I’m not dissing my tribe. But I’m thrilled to see something exciting and ground-breaking happening in gospel rap.

I want to welcome what God is doing with open arms, honouring him for the gifting he’s placed in my Christian brothers Sho Baraka, Tedashii, Lecrae, Trip Lee, Katalyst, Shai Linne (to name just a few)

Will you join me?

Here’s three good places to start

Under the Radar #80
Lions & Liars
Identity Crisis

Free songs by a white guy with a guitar

About mattblick

Songwriter/Singer from Nottingham, UK. My 2nd EP, Everything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky, is out now. I'm blogging (& podcasting) through the entire Beatles catalogue at Beatles Songwriting Academy. In my spare time I wish I had some spare time.
This entry was posted in Worship Leading and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Saviour of Christian Music is Not a White Guy With a Guitar…

  1. Ben Green says:

    Loving the new look blog! Plus you're so right here. So right it hurts…it hurts my little white ass pride. (Not really). Great post.

  2. Andy says:

    Interesting post, especially because on Sunday I decided to rap whilst leading worship (I am a white guy with a guitar. Got mixed reactions, but I loved it. Rap is such a great form of expression.

  3. Sean says:

    From one white guy to another: "Word!" (did I use that right). Anyway, I couldn't agree more. It seems as though the rappers of the Kingdom seem to be some of the best theologians around. Its given me a new appreciation for rap. That is for sure.

  4. Sean says:

    Got to tell you Matt, we LOVE the eglon song (especially my ten year old son). Wish I knew about it before I preached last Sunday. As for my Music Mondays, there will definitely be some rap on there. Likely the first will be higher love by Sho Baraka. I totally dig that tune and the video is pretty sweet too (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZb_-hiq8ZY) . I did post a Lecrae tune a while back (http://whatsgottabesaid.blogspot.com/2010/03/beautiful-feet.html), and actually got some good input from some Christians who never realized that we can glorify Christ through rap music. Nice chattin with you. Look forward to stopping by Young Glory in the future.
    Peace

  5. Matt Blick says:

    Guys thank you all for the kind comments.
    @Andy – go for it. I'm not saying we can never rap on a sunday – it's just that I don't think we can do it as a whole congregation for the whole of the worship time…

    All in all I just want to let these guys push me to be more bible filled and in your face with my SONGS.

    @Sean – keep up the good work!

  6. Shaen Hunter says:

    When did snarky become a Christ-like attitude? Using a photo of some older guy that you use as the end of your snarky little joke. Couldn't you have made the same point without putting others down?

  7. Matt Blick says:

    Shaen – I'm sorry the picture offended you. I wasn't aware I made any jokes in the post.

  8. Shaen Hunter says:

    Why did you use that photo? Do you know him? You used a photo of some REAL person because you thought he looked boring and out of it. Instead of just making the point that a lot of Christian Rappers that are coming out that are very strong lyrically and theology wise, you have to turn it into a snarky slam. It just seems very worldly to me. You and I may be young now, but we will be old one day. How would you feel if you saw your photo used to depict; old, boring, whatever the point was. You think anyone buys that you used that picture because you thought he looked good? Young and vibrant? Come on.. you know what you meant by using that photo. I hate seeing the world use photos of real people like they mean nothing, like they are just clip art and not real people. I hate it even more to see a Christian use it in that way. I found your blog article doing a search on one of the names you mention, but I am leery of looking at anymore .

Leave a Reply