Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spiritual Strain of Hiphop Part 2 - Christianity

Although I recently wrote about hip-hop's spirituality and "religion" the Universal Zulu Nation, that doesn't mean people from other religions don't use hip-hop as an expressive tool. Other religions use hip-hop music, dance and graffiti within the contexts of worshiping their god or higher being.

Christianity is one of the religions that use hip-hop as that form of tool. Also known as "Holy Hip Hop," hip-hop art in Christian culture has been known as the new and hip way to rally a younger audience into the church. People from the Christian faith that believe hip-hop, although it is "created by man," is used for God's purpose to reach out to the youth. Those who accept Holy Hip-Hop hold similar beliefs as the Universal Zulu Nation, but believe it is the principles of Christianity that need to be pushed in the lyrics and that the Christ figure should be added into songs. Even some famous hip-hop artists are now apart of the Holy Hip-Hop community, including Christopher "Play" Martin (from the hip-hop rap group Kid N' Play) and Kurtis Blow.

Below is the video "Hip Hop Church" that was aired on Current TV covering hip-hop in the church. It features Kurtis Blow as well as other emcees who rap in the name of Jesus.

The connection between hip-hop and the Christian church is nothing new. Actually, Black music today, as well as any music genre, has origins laced in the Black church. For starters, oration in hip-hop culture is a derivative of the call-and-response style of preaching. Think about it: how many times have you been to a hip-hop concert and the artist will say "if you in the place to be, make some noise!"? It's the same in the Black church. Typically, a preacher will ask his congregation, "if you hear me, say amen?" And then the church will respond saying, "amen." That particular style in both the church and in concert is used to pull energy from the crowd and bring them together. And this is used in all kinds of concerts, but it is also a style used in Black Christian churches.

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