This is a cross-post from the blog of Vitamin Z, where I am guest-blogging this week.
Here are five great Christian rap songs. This post comes to you ex nihilo. I have no reason for writing it, other than my love for these songs.
1. Cross Movement, “Closer to You.” This one is off the Holy Culture album. When the album came out six or so years ago, I played this song over and over. It’s got a gorgeous hook by JR, a hard beat by DJ Official, and strong verses from all contributors. Many of us grew in the faith and in love for hip-hop because of CM, so it’s fun to reflect back on their work.
2. Mars Ill, “Two Steps.” Coming from the Blue Collar Sessions ep, which is very hard to find and very good. Manchild (formerly soulHEIR the Manchild) is a poet, and this beat by Dust fits his pitch-perfect, low-varnish flow elegantly. Three great stories told in this song, a very different kind than the first. I heard this song and thought (perhaps delusionally), “I want to do that.” It was a Tina Fey-kind of moment that led to world tours, mansions, and dinner conversations with Prince. Sorry, that last bit was a delusion. But the song is great, and I hope it inspires another generation of Christian rappers.
3. Mr. J. Medeiros, “Constance.” This from the Of Gods and Girls album. Medeiros, possibly the most-tattooed artist in Christian music (he was on Miami Ink–some serious street cred), offers a deeply moving song about sex trafficking. Unless many rappers, he’s combating, not promoting it. The sampled chorus hits me hard, and the lyrics condemn lust with a sermonic force.
4. Braille, “Keep On,” and “Right This Moment” and “Soul Rock.” I just broke my rules and gave you three songs from the nearly peerless Shades of Grey disc. Don’t let the fact that this album is six years old stop you from buying it. Hip-hop is like certain food and drink. It ages and gets better with time (Nas’s Illmatic supports this contention, for example). I doubt that Braille will ever make a better LP. He lined up sensational beats for this and matched them with forceful, emotional, poetic content.
5. Trip Lee, “To Live Is Christ.” From 13 Letters. Great song that gives an overview of the book of Philippians. I like Lee’s voice a lot, and his content hits hard. Nice beat as well.
Now, when you hear someone say, “there’s no good Christian rap” or “Christian rap can’t be edifying,” you have something to suggest. Or maybe you already did. One can be thankful for something of a renaissance at present in this area. May it only continue, and build the faith of the saints and advance the gospel.