Random Thoughts, Lecrae & CHH Reactions
Two days ago Shai Linne dropped his second single, Random Thoughts 3, off his soon to be released Seventh Studio album – Still Jesus. Christians, in particular, those with an affiliation to Christian Hip Hop had mixed reactions to the song release – some loving it, others not at all impressed (the 8 that gave the song a thumbs down), whilst others thought it unwise, based on the fact that the lower case emcee, as he is popularly known, took a stab at Reach Records. Listen to the full song here:
At 2:37 minutes of the song, Shai Linne raps: But we noticed a big shift in 2012/ Around the time Jackie asked me about Calvinism/ Christian Hip-hop found a different algorithm/ And crossed over without taking the cross over/ Made us all sober- years later, is it all over?/ Trip asked me if I was still motivated/ I was quiet, but I wanted to say “No, I hate it”/. He goes on and talks about how the Reach Records Camp is causing confusion and that while he still loves them as brothers, he is not down with their conclusions. He also clears the air on why he wrote the song, did the album and what his thoughts are on the current state of CHH in an interview with Dj Wade O:
Let’s be clear, for the benefit of others not in the know, Shai Linne is not the first to come at Lecrae’s move to be doing “Mainstream” music. Flame did it with Number 1 Spot. He actually made it clear in an interview with Dj Wade O that he was referencing to Lecrae as the source of the new movement in Christian Hip Hop. Evangel also put a record out as response to Lecrae’s Rebel Vs Gravity with a song titled Dear Mr.Gravity. Jovan Mackenzy once wrote an open letter to Lecrae about his move. And most recently, Datin put out a YouTube video addressing some of the comments Lecrae made in an interview with the Breakfast Club and with Hot 97. To Lecrae’s credit, he did respond to Datin’s response and actually did an interview with Dj Wade O addressing this. Watch video below (in particular at 2:20). We also have to give him credit for preparing us on his new shift of mindset, having done interviews, released mixtapes (Church Clothes 1, 2 and 3).
Back to the subject at hand and my random thoughts. I think what we struggle with Lecrae’s viewpoint and approach is two things:
1. Him shying away from being called a Christian Artist and not wearing that badge of honour when called that. (A lot of us still want him to be that)
2. Him dissing the church, not CHH (Why Shai called him out). This was I believe when he was talking about how the church boxed him with the Rebel album, don’t waste your life tour. How that “White Evangelicals” put him as a poster boy for preaching the Gospel through hip hop. This is in response to when Ebro of Hot 97 asked him about his commentary on the shootings in America. Peep at 8:85 mins of the video below:
My thoughts? I don’t 100% agree with the approach that the current CHH has taken. Let me elaborate, I don’t agree with leaving out the name of Jesus when conversations come up. An artist can call themselves a Christian Rapper or Rapper who is a Christian, but like I mentioned earlier, I have an issue with not wearing that badge – That’s just my opinion. Can and should Christians do conscious rap? They should, especially when it comes to addressing social injustice or even a mere love song. And I must say, before I got saved, I was tip-toeing on the Christian records that were not explicitly Theo-Christ-Centric (if that’s even a word). I got introduced to the Gospel by listening to John Reuben, Tunnel Rats, G.R.I.T.S, T-Bone and Kirk Franklin, who were at the time, not your typical Gospel MCs. These dudes played their part and I appreciate them doing so. I later grew onto some KJ52, Cross Movement, J-Silas and a long list of other CHH artits, Lecrae included.
Whilst I might have my reservations, I get where Lecrae is coming from and what he is trying to communicate. I obviously can’t summarize his mission in a blog post as this is a whole conversation on its own. What I do know from initial interviews and others I’ve watched is that Lecrae views the world/his approach from how most of us not in full-time Christian hip-hop – He views it from a work related perspective. That is to say, I am a Digital Marketer, but do not go with a title that says Christian Digital Marketer. at best we should pray for Lecrae and anyone who is out there in the “world”. I think we should still have these conversations, however, if not for us, at least for the future generation/our kids, lest we create a beast of what is neither Christian, nor CHH. Let us have a track record for our kids to chew on in the future when they are all grown up and let them decide, just like we’ve learned from history. Please share your thoughts on the matter.
Grace and Peace,