I know that I have been away for a minute as I got on a tangent on talking about the spiritual references in secular music videos. Some of you had asked that I talk about other Christian Rap artists that I had not in some of my previous articles and I have some new artists that I have come across that I find to be interesting. Some of the groups that I was ecstatic about the last time were okay, but the material was old and dated, and as one commentator pointed out, you have a lot of groups that are a bit corny. But there are plenty of Christian artists that are not just praising God and worshiping him through their music, but are working with great producers that give them a polished and clean sound that one can compare with the secular groups that are out there.
I think that it is important than the sound of Christian music in general is aggressive, modern, and forward-thinking, but not one that should seek to copy what has already been done with secular music. For that reason you won’t hear me pushing mixtapes in which Christian artists simply rap or sing over tracks that were already successful in the mainstream. What I have found is that a lot of Christian rappers used to be secular artists just as lot of Christian rock artists used to be in the underground rock scene. So you will hear artists talk about God with the same enthusiasm that they used to talk about drugs. Other groups, like GRITS, do have a polished sound that you would hear in the mainstream. A lot of rappers are using what you would otherwise call trap music, as the beats are similar to what you would hear Gucci Mane or Wacka Flocka rap over.
I think the end game for most music listeners is material that is spiritual in nature, even if you did not realize that is what you were looking for. This is one of the reasons why material that delves into spiritual themes are so popular, and that is because it addresses different needs that your conscious may not be in touch with, but that your subconscious is desperately seeking. This is why you need to be aware of what you are listening to, and why you are listening to it. Secular artists understand this and know who to exploit it for their own gain as people are looking outside of themselves for something deeper because that is how they are designed. These artists do not make a ton of money, but they do okay and can hold their own. They also have the skill and talent to exist regardless of what the trends are. This is one reason why it is important to support Christian artists who are struggling because they are essentially doing the same thing for the Lord. If Nas and Lupe Fiasco can sell out arenas and have successful tours, then our artists should be able to do the same thing.
I grew up with crates and stacks of records. I would go through records in my grandparents attic when they were alive and “borrow” 45s and LPs that I never returned. I damaged a few records in my time. There was always something playing; the radio was never turned on because someone always had a record playing somewhere. Now that we all have computers music is even easier to find, and easier to throw away. But enough of that introduction and onto some of the artists I have found. I am a huge fan of LeCrae not just because he has the skill to hang with the best lyricists but because of his storytelling. You don’t get great storytelling in the mainstream, and a lot of underground artists aren’t that great at it either. If you want a nice flow with great lyrics that make you think that any hip-hop head can appreciate LeCrae is your man.
But I also like Dillon Chase. He has a mixtape on rapzilla called “Pause” that fuses hip-hop with other forms and is not your traditional rap artist. The beats are great but I find his work to be more experimental than what a lot of Christian hip-hop artist are doing. Rapzilla also has some other mixtapes if you click on that link. I like the tapes over there a lot better than those I found on DatPiff, for a few reasons. A lot of the guys on DatPiff, well, they just aren’t up to par for what I’m into. The beats are decent, and I appreciate their enthusiasm for Christ, but these are low budget underground recordings that would have been good back in 2000. Since I am on Rapzilla, I am going to check out Wes Pendleton and see what he is about. Another interesting group is 116 Clique, which is a supergroup consisting of Christian rap artists that have their own careers on the side. Don’t forget Tedashii.