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Hip Hop in the Pulpit

This past Friday Young Jeezy released his sixth studio album, Church in the Streets. Jeezy goes forward with the nickname “Pastor Young” and uses a religious backdrop for this release. Rap music is not one to shy away from religion as we’ve discussed in a previous blog post; Hip Hop, Religion, and the Black Church but at what point are we using religion as a prop or a selling tool? I’m not saying that Jeezy is just using religion to sell records but when I listened to some of the songs on the album the use of religious verbiage seemed purposefully done. I wonder how Christian rappers feel about the use of religious jargon being thrown around by mainstream rap artists. I’m sure Pastor Troy had his naysayers during the height of his career. On the flipside I listened to Rev Run’s interview on the Breakfast Club Morning Show last week and he made some good points that I heard during the show’s interview with Minister Louis Farrakhan. Social media is where the people are; not necessarily the church. Yes, sinners go to church but a lot of them don’t and if you want to provoke change and awareness social media is the pulpit you need.

Some of these Rappers have more followers on Instagram than an entire church or temple sees all year so why not utilize this power or attention in a positive manner? Most Rappers depict or speak about drugs, money, and “models” on their social media. Some of them never even post a picture of them performing let alone giving their followers some food for thought. Why do you think Rev Run, Tyrese, and Diddy are so popular on social media? Diddy is probably the best example. He uses his words to motivate others as well as his lifestyle. Diddy shows himself working and how he enjoys the fruits of his labor as he should. He is a family man so what you see is what you get. He may stunt on us from time to time but I’ve never seen him smoking a fat blunt on social media either. Even Snoop Dogg has his loyal weed smoking followers. He shares with us his family and how hard he works even after twenty plus years in the industry. We get photos of him with athletes from the SYFL and his passion for sports. Meek Mill posts photos that may motivate and touch a young hustler in any country but motivation to do what exactly, we’re not sure.

All these people motivating their followers on social media but are they really getting the word and are they really understanding the meaning of hard work or do they just see the good life skipping over the hard work just to try and get the spoils of said work? If that’s the case than those people are led a stray to an unrealistic idea of what success is. You can’t be successful without hard work! It might seem like people are “lucky” and that certain people are effortlessly successful but believe me there was a struggle at some point on their road to the top. It’s funny because there are so many people who don’t go to church or any type of religious gathering place because the person leading the flock is either boring, longwinded, or a flat-out fake. If you are misleading my people on social media and in your music why should I follow you or buy your music? Why should I be a fan of yours? So you can mislead me? Putting out messages and images to make me change my behavior, actions, or lifestyle can be dangerous if you’re following the wrong person. Why do you think that there are other positions in the church; everyone isn’t called to do the same work.

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