Can Hip Hop be Holy???

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on October 19, 2007



1 Corinthians 11:14-15

14Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.


Regarding the issue of HIP HOP and taking/practicing things that the culture around you may do in HOLY HIP HOP, I had some thoughts I’d like to share…(bear with me, though, cause they’e pretty lengthy/detailed)

In talking about head coverings and length of hair, Paul was saying that believers should look and behave in ways that are HONORABLE within their own culture. In many cultures long hair on men is considered appropriate and masculine.

In Corinth, however, it was thought to be a sign of male prostitution in the pagan temples. And Women with short hair were labeled as prostitutes…..and what Paul was saying was that in the Corinthian Culture, Christian women should keep their hair long, for if short hair on women was a sign of prostitution, then a Christian woman with short hair would find it even more difficult to be a believable witness for Jesus Christ.

Paul wasn’t saying that we should adopt ALL the practices of our culture, but that we should avoid the appearances and behavior that DETRACT from our ultimate goal of being believable witnesses for Jesus while demonstrating our Christian Faith.

Regarding Hip Hop, their are many things within the culture itself that are not inherently wrong of themselves and that shouldn’t be a problem doing—things, for example, like Rap or Dance, M-Ceeing, and even some of the dress styles as well as languages.

However, minus the fact of whether or not the practice is even condoned in Scripture, if the things that Christians are doing are representive of something that those in HIP HOP do that are praised, then it would be best not to do those things. There have been many Holy Hip-Hoppers who would claim that their heart’s intent was to win Souls for Christ—-and though many of them may’ve been sincere, their actions inadvertently lead to making other young Christians more attracted to/acceptable of the Hip Hop Culture than they were to being like Jesus.

When someone like PEDITEE, for example, wears a grill and practically looks like a THUG on His ALBULM COVER……….

Or a group like GRITS uses the same terminology someone in HIP HOP would use to make a point (as they did on the song “Memories” On their “REDEMPTION” Cd when they used the phrase “Shag it ROTTEN” to describe their taking ownership of something because that’s how the culture is…………

Or someone feels they have to grab their crotch whenever they’re doing a song cause they how the rappers do it in REAL HIP HOP, or feels that it’s OK to dress immodestly/have FAR TOO MUCH SKIN showing because that’s what’s going on at BET,

Or when someone at a Youth Group takes the mike, begins to rap, and begins to call the youths to yell “WHAT’S MY NAME???!!!” OR raps more about themselves than they do about the Lord while also trying to speak Scripture to them occasionally……

Or when someone gets on stage and does the EXACT same dance moves they saw on BET OR WOULD SEE IN THE CLUB (as Holy Hip Hopper CANTON JONES did when he went to a church I attended called ELIZABETH BAPTIST CHURCH in Atlanta, Ga, for a Music/Youth Rally had the ENTIRE audience of youths doing the DANCE FROM THE LAFFTY TAFFY SONG, to the point where the youths were literally up on each other/bumping and grinding and you couldn’t tell the difference between the church and the club!!!),….

When you do all those things you can inevitably draw attention to the Movement, as if you’re praising it because you’re mimicking nearly everything the movement of HIP HOP DOES itself does. The kids (as is often the case) will flock to it——that, and the fact that those who are not Christians don’t take Christians seriously because, thought their Words/Terminology may be Christian; they look Almost EXACTLY THE SAME AS THOSE IN THE WORLD DO.

To an unsaved person in Hip Hop, many may not even care to listen to those who are saved Holy-Hip hoppers and may say, “There’s no need for me to come to Christ/ya’lls side, cause ya’ll already look JUST LIKE ME…AND AS A MATTER OF FACT, THERE’S NO NEED TO CHANGE BECUASE YA’LL ARE DOING THE SAME THINGS I’M ALREADY ABOUT. SEEMS LIKE YA”LL WANTS TO BE MORE LIKE ME THAN ANYTHING ELSE…..”

Also, how much of a resemblance do you see often with what appears to be a GREAT majority of Artists within HOLY HIP HOP to what JESUS LOOKED LIKE and how He lived life?

By no means do all HOLY-HIP HOPPERS ACT THE SAME….and there are many who are sincerely seeking to demonstrate what it means to be sold out to Christ. And many of them, contrary to what many may believe, are TRULY MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. A good example would be a Holy Hip Hopper by the name of JOHN THE Baptist OR aka: “Johnny Bapt” (His Cd was “Baptize the Game”. )

He goes to my church and was present when G.Craig came to visit once/spoke on “The Truth Behind HIP HOP”…..Growing up on the streets and in the Hip Hop Culture, He knows what it was like and how to relate to the youths.

Even had a meeting with the G.Craig and dialogued with him on the many things they agreed on (i.e. the need for People to EXALT CHRIST more than HOLY HIP-HOP, the need to stop using Gimmicks/Fun Activities to win young people to Christ when in fact many of them are MORE THAN HUNGRY to grow in Christ but are simply not seeing Youth Ministers challenge them in studying the Word and teaching them the things they need in order to be effective DISCIPLES for Christ.

However, though Craig disagreed with Johnny on some things on Holy Hip Hop, they still respect each other. Johnny is still heavily involved in the church. He’s one of the Children’s Church Ministers and does an EXCELLENT job leading them in memorizing the Word/showing them how it applies to Everyday life, and He works hard at whatever He does.

However, He always CONSTANTLY reminds people TO LOOK first and FOREMOST AT JESUS, not HIM……and He diligently makes sure that in his music he’s simply RAPPING/NOT PROMOTING THE MOVEMENT OF SECULAR HIP HOP above the WORD OF GOD or the POWER OF HIS GRACE. Unlike other Holy Hip Hoppers, He’s the only one who I’ve ever see walk in the Power of God…..and even in conerts where he has to entertain the kids, he’s one of the only ones’ TO ACTUALLY STOP A CONCERT MIDWAY AND CALL PEOPLE or Issues OUT or PREACH THE GOSPEL while giving calls to REPENTANCE……and, as I’ve witnessed and experienced myself, many people were truly impacted, convicted and stirred to become better DISCIPLES OFCHRIST.

As Scripture says, Believers when they are saved are to disengage themselves from all forms of false religion and make a clean break from all sinful habits and old IDOLATAROUS practices (essentially anything glorifying themselves rather than the FATHER):


2 Corinthians 6:14-17

Do Not Be Yoked With Unbelievers

14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[a]?

What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”[b]
17″Therefore come out from them
and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”[c]

And that’s exactly what Johnny does. He doesn’t promote the things within the culture of HIP HOP which are Unbiblical and inherently EVIL, nor does He go and join forces with the same foul rappers that are on stage representing it (as some Holy Hip Hoppers have done)……but neither does he deny that there are some practices which have legitimate merit and are not inherently wrong by nature.

Minus the fact that the clothes are Modest/decent, He doesn’t refuse to wear uniforms from clothing lines like “Ecko”, “Paco”, “Fubu” or “South POLE …..Nor does he condemn those who do so simply because someone in Hip Hop was wearing it and therefore the clothing line itself is now contaminated. Falling for that kind of thinking is exactly what the Corinthians were doing.


1 Corinthians 8:1

1 Corinthians 8

Food Sacrificed to Idols

1Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge.[a] Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But the man who loves God is known by God.

4So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

7But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?

11So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

Regarding the CONTEXT of the verse, the Greeks/Romans were polytheistic (worshiping many gods) and polydemonistic (believing in many evil spirits). They believed that evil spirits would try to invade human beings by attaching themselves to food before it was eaten, and that the spirits could be removed only by the food’s being sacrificed to a god. The sacrifice was not meant to only gain favor with the gods, but to cleanse the meat from demonic contamination….and such decontaminated meat was offered to the gods as a sacrifice.

That which was not burned on the altar was served at wicked pagan feasts, and what was left was sold in the market. And the reason Paul dealt with it here was because after conversion, believers RESENTED eating such food bought out of idol markets, because it reminded SENSITIVE Gentile Believers of their previous pagan lives/demonic worship.

Paul and other mature believers knew better than to be bothered by such food offered once to idols and then sold in the marketplace. They knew the deities didn’t exist and that EVIL SPIRITS COULD NOT CONTAMINATE THE FOOD that needed to be eaten.

That being said, the same can be said of things within the HIP HOP culture that are accepted by many Christians. Simply because someone within Hip Hop wears something (like TIMBERLAND shoes, or URBAN CLOTHING of some sort) does not mean that a Christian who does the same is somehow CONTAMINATED because of where that particular HIP Hopper stood or because he believe in something that was wrong……and to say that the Clothes should be forbidden seems RASH at best……Apply the same logic to the things that we wear but make no fuss about like “Fruit of the Loom”, “Tommy Hilfiger”.

Would I dismiss them as well because they came from a SECULAR SOURCE or were possibly made by someone who denied Christ? Apply that Logic to it’s natural extent and you probably wouldn’t be wearing NOR using much of ANYTHING (whether it be cars or jewelry, makeup, equipment, etc) since it at some point it came from, was used by or was made by someone who wasn’t a Christian and by buying it, you’re representing them AUTOMATICALLY. And if you did do so but still wanted to call out those who wore clothing styles (Modest Ones/General Ones, of course) that many with the HIP HOP Culture happen to use as well, you probably are coming off Hypocritical at best.

The issue is one of CHRISTIAN FREEDOM, which Christ died for us to have…And just as Paul encouraged the Corinthians to buy whatever meat was in the market (I Corinthians 10:25-27), so it can also be said that there’s no need to condemn those who wear ANY KIND of URBAN WEAR that may be associated with Hip Hop.

Honestly, when we become too worried about our EVERY ACTION, we become LEGALISTIC and cannot enjoy life. Everything belongs to God (I Corinthians 10:25), and he has given us ALL things to enjoy. And if we know something is a problem, then we can deal with it……but we don’t need to be “nit-picky”/ going out looking for problem

 Again, Christ died for us to HAVE CHRISTIAN FREEDOM.,…… n’ Christian leaders and teachers should carefully teach about the freedom we have in matters not EXPRESSELY FORBIDDEN BY SCRIPTURE

However, that’s not to say that we should use our freedom in Christ at the cost of hurting a Christian brother/sister. We are not to consider ourselves ONLY, but we must be sensitive to others. While some actions may not be wrong, they may not be in the best interests of others.

And While Christians should not make a career of being the weaker person with oversensitive consciences, that doesn’t change the fact that nothing we do should cause another believer to stumble. We do what is best for others.

Remember, in the context of I Corinthians 8, the consciences of some newer converts were still accusing them strongly with regard to eating food without eating spiritually corrupted and guilty. They still imagined that idols were real and evil…..and some believers would be caused to fall back into old sins by getting involved with foods offered unto IDOLS (I Corinthians 8:9-11).

What was Paul’s WARNING? It was that those who cause another to stumble are doing more than simply an offense against that person; THEY ARE OFFENDING THE LORD HIMSELF (I Corinthians 8:9-11). And this is something we must greatly keep in mind when it comes to dealing with the culture of Hip Hop.

I may have the freedom as a Christian to go out and but URBAN STYLE CLOTHING that seems to be generally used by EVERYONE, whether in Hip OR not, and not representing any kind of allegiance to a particular rapper. Bu what happens when I go out and buy a GIANT T-Shirt with a rapper like BIGGIE SMALLS or “SCAREFACE”?

I may see it as no deal……but minus the fact that I KNOW these Men were BLANTALY AGAIST THE LORD, and that THAT IMAGE IS KNOWN TO PORTRAY A PATICULAR IMAGE my wearing of a clothing style with their name in front could make it seem like I’m ADVERTISING THEM and could cause a weaker believer in the Lord to stumble back into accepting them as legitimate …

.and like Paul made clear, my giving no regard to how I may be hurting / offending a weaker brother with one’s freedom will cause the offended person to condemn us (I Corinthians 10:29). Better for me to not buy the shirt than run the risk of harming another because of it.

That’s why as believers we must make sure that in using our Christian Liberty, we again make sure that the good of others is one of our PRIMARY goals.

Though we shouldn’t necessarily be OVER-SENSITIVE/doing nothing for fear that someone may be displeased , or necessarily “YES” people by going along with everything and trying to gain approval from people rather than from God, We cannot be insensitive and doing what we want, no matter who is hurt by it.

Our goal should be to live in ways that would EDIFY ONE ANOTHER (I Corinthians 10:23-24) —–not seeking our own gratification FIRST or ourselves over others—and to conduct our Christian liberty as well as the most common behaviors to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31). It’s all about being like Jesus (I Corinthians 11:1), and remembering that to love others believers is the STRONGEST WITNESS WE HAVE (John 13:34-35).

And, moreover, regarding Holy Hip Hop, we have to remember that there will be DIFFERENCES OF OPINION in the church (disputable matters) that we should not quarrel over issues that are a matter of opinion. Differences should not be feared or avoided, but at the same time they must be handled with love….and with the expectation that NOT EVERYONE, EVEN IN THE BEST POSSIBLE CHURCH, WILL AGREE ON THE SUBJECT.

We need to accept, listen to , and RESPECT OTHERS , especially those who may be involved in Holy Hip Hop, knowing that through the sharing of ideas we can come to a fuller understanding of what the Bible teaches. Again, DIFFERENCES OF OPINION NEED NOT CAUSE DIVISION…..AND can be a source of learning/richness in our relationships (as I’ve experienced as a Youth Worker and working with those like Johnny Bapt or the kids in the youth for Holy Hip Hop)

And above all else, we must recognize that for those involved in Holy Hip Hop but whom we don’t agree with, EACH PERSON IS ACCOUNTABLE TO CHRIST. NOT OTHERS.

While the Church must be uncompromising in it’s stand against activities that are EXPRESSLY forbidden by Scripture (adultery, homosexuality, murder, theft), it should be not create ADDITIONAL RULES AND REGULATIONS AND GIVE THEM EQUAL STANDING WITH GOD’S LAW.

Many times (as is often the case with Holy Hip Hop), Christians will base their moral judgments on opinion, personal dislikes, or cultural bias rather than on the WORD OF GOD….and at the end of the day, that is the ONLY STANDARD WE HAVE TO GO BY THAT’LL LAST.


Romans 14

The Weak and the Strong

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother?

Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written:

” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’ “[a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food[b] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.

17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

For a EXCELLENT READ ON THE ISSUE,  I encourage everyone to check out this article:


ALSO, If interested, here’s something that should aid the discussion. It’s from some music videos from one paticular Holy Hip Hop group named “Grits”….and though they don’t necessarily represent everyone’s mentality or style affiliated with HOLY HIP HOP , based on melody/style, I’d be curious as to what you felt the intent of the music was for:


Also, regarding the discussion, here’s a clip from a Holy Hip Hopper named “Da Truth”


What feel did you get from seeing him? Did you feel he had good intent or bad? To praise God or something else? And moreover, even though both were using beats/rhythms you’d hear in Hip Hop, did they both make you feel the same or did they evoke 2 different mentalities/moods in hearing them?


4 Responses to “Can Hip Hop be Holy???”

  1. Ann Brock said

    I have no problem with how the young people worship God. As long as the heart is pure and right it don’t bother God to who they are offering praises to why should it bother us. We can not keep trying to box God in to our way of thinking. I am 50 years old and I like Canton Jones [How can you sing about love without sing about Jesus] and Iam going to stay save. I like your posts.

  2. […] https://emissary7.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/can-hip-hop-be-holy/ […]

  3. Michelle said

    check out gospelexpressions.org

  4. i believe that if we read 1 Cor 11 in it’s entire context, we will see that the main objective of that passage was the role of Christ, husband, and wife, and the acceptance of that order which God sees submission.

    from my research, and i could be wrong, but women were cutting their hair short in rebellion of male authority, and men were growing their hair to show that they didn’t want to have authority over the women.

    good analysis of the passage, but i believe that passage was more about the gender role that God sees fit, as far as the authority, not so much about hair … it’d take a looong time to explain such in this comment page, but i absolutely see where you are coming from!

    but i love this read, good read!


    God bless!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: