The Gospel in hip-hop music

It’s refreshing to see rappers showing gratitude to God by making Gospel rap. Christian rap has been in the industry for 42 years, with MC Pete Harrison of Queens, New York releasing the first commercially available gospel hip-hop record, The Gospel Beat: Jesus-Christ. Three years later, Stephen Wiley released the first full Christian rap album, Bible Break, inspiring artists like Lecrae and Trip Lee to continue infusing Christian rap with new sounds to appeal to new generations.

In South Africa, Jub Jub’s gospel rap was well-received, with “Ndikhokhele” being a hit from his album “My Shine.” However, his life outside of music led to him being judged, which tarnished the Christian rap category in South Africa.

 

One Christian rapper who stands out is Meaken, also known as Meaken Gumbi. He started his musical journey at the age of 11 and blends various genres like Afro beats, hip-hop/rap, and R&B to convey his message. His goal is to spread the love of Christ and make His presence known through his music, appealing to a wide audience with his diverse skill set in songwriting, performance, and production. Meaken’s music resonates deeply with listeners on Spotify and beyond, and I believe he’s the next best Christian rapper to come from South Africa.

Even mainstream hip-hop icons like Nas and DMX have incorporated Christian symbols and messages into their music and videos through lyrical content, and overarching themes. Nas’s hit song and music video “One Mic” from his 2001 album Stillmatic references Christianity in the song, with the chorus “Yo, all I need is… One God to show me how to do things His Son did.  DMX is known for incorporating prayers into his music, with “Lord Give Me a Sign” from his 2006 album featuring strong Christian lyrical content and scriptural quotes from the Bible.  In South Africa, many artists have shown the love of God through their music, like AKA and ANATII’s “Be Careful What You Wish For,” “Angel,” “Don’t Forget to Pray,” and “Jesus Plug.” A-Reece’s “Mark 15:35” is also powerful, referencing the story of how Pilate asked the crowd if they wanted to release Jesus, even though it was understood that Jesus had done nothing wrong.

 

 

If you know of any other Gospel or fully Christian rappers who deserve recognition, feel free to suggest them. We’re the biggest hip-hop publication in Africa and are all about the culture, so let’s hear those Gospel Bars Hype Fam!

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