Earlier this, I was at work, subbing as Teacher as Extra Help, in a class of nearly 40 2nd graders. Tired of raising my voice, I decided to try something different. I began to sing soft at each table the instructions that the teachers had given the kids. One of the children chirped, “You need to have a record deal.”
“If Driscoll had praised Nirvana or Johny Cash or the Beattles or Led Zepplin none of his followers would have said a word in critique. Why Jay-Z? Is it because he’s a negro? (think about it).”
Meanwhile, Matt Parker’s criticism of the arrogance of the “us versus them” mentality of Holy Hip Hoppers I believe taps into the essential difference between Christian music and pop music in general.
For my two cents, these articles only affirm studies that have shown that 70% Hip Hop’s consumption comes from white Americans, and so the reason why the Holy Hip Hop genre has this “holier than thou” attitude is not because it is anti-Hip Hop, but because it is geared towards young white Evangelicals as an “alternative” to that other stuff. This would explain the prominence of Calvinist theology in Holy Hip Hop circles. It would also explain the utterly bizarre silence that Christian rappers maintain when it comes to issues of racial and economic oppression, which once served as the primary source of the hip hop culture.
I thought to lighten up the conversation with a rare music post and a bit of good news.
When I first started at Brite, I would listen to one band and blast its music really really loud on my stereo: Switchfoot. I have seen them in concert several times. For my 24th birthday, besides having a 24 themed party; you guessed it–I played Switchfoot’s “24” all day, and all day the day before I turned 25. I would argue “Nothing Is Sound” was their best album to date up until I purchased “Hello Hurricane.” The funny thing is, I thought I had out grown Switchfoot, since every song had some very vague metaphor for God or was about relationships between guys and girls. My focus had changed; I was more into things like racial reconciliation, Christian justice, liberation, and empire studies. Their music for me was a thing of the past as part of a different stage of growth. I really didn’t expect any change to happen from their brand of music (what I labelled as other-worldly).
However, I have learned my lesson. I should never doubt the possibility of anyone to change. One article pointed out that they had made a change in their music. Inspired by civil rights activist John Perkins, I believe Switchfoot is working to change their image from just another Christian commodity to a group of human beings dedicated to justice. Shows me right for being cynical.