Jump to content

Hip-Hop Fans?


Kyle
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've been a lurker in the music forums for quite awhile now and I don't see much discussion on hip-hop music. I did some searching on past forums and didn't find any threads. Why is this? Surely there are a few hip-hop fans around.

But maybe there isn't. I actually listen to very little hip-hop music. It's not that I dislike the sound of the music I just don't feel any social connection to the music. They are speaking a different language to a completly foreign culture.

Despite my current aversion to hip-hop, I was an avid fan from 1992-96. That said, there are some groups that I still respect and enjoy a great amount:

A Trible Called Quest

De La Soul

Digable Planets

the Pharcyde

Wu-Tang Clan

the Roots

Then there are the more instrumental acts such as DJ Shadow and Prefuse 73.

So what type of hip-hop do you like?

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently picked up the newest album from Common, produced by Kanye West, and it's pretty good.

I enjoy a lot of hip-hop music, but really find stuff like 50 Cent or The Game hampers my enjoyment of the rest of the genre.

However, I enjoy Outkast, Jurassic 5, Kanye West, Public Enemy, and The Beastie Boys.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

Twitter.
Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up listening to mostly hip-hop in high school, along with alt rock. These days, the hip-hop I listen to is mostly by believers. Here are some favorites:

Mars ILL

Deepspace5

Listener

New Breed

Dert

Soul-Junk

peace,

bvl

How do they compare to popular hip-hop? I remember about ten years ago hip-hop within the Christian community was laughable at best. I'm sure it's much better now, I feel the Christian community as a whole has made great strides in this regards. I work as a youth minister and most of the kids that I work with listen to hip-hop exclusively. Frankly, I'm a bit disturbed by the lyrical content of most of the stuff they play. Since most don't pay attention to the lyrics anyway and if they do, it's not critically, I'm insterested in providing them a bit more "wholesome" options, hopefully with a positive spiritual bent. It might even be a great exercise for them to compare the lyrical content of different MC's.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How do they compare to popular hip-hop?  I remember about ten years ago hip-hop within the Christian community was laughable at best.  I'm sure it's much better now, I feel the Christian community as a whole has made great strides in this regards.  I work as a youth minister and most of the kids that I work with listen to hip-hop exclusively.  Frankly, I'm a bit disturbed by the lyrical content of most of the stuff they play.  Since most don't pay attention to the lyrics anyway and if they do, it's not critically, I'm insterested in providing them a bit more "wholesome" options, hopefully with a positive spiritual bent.  It might even be a great exercise for them to compare the lyrical content of different MC's.

I grew up listening to a lot of hip-hop, and it's been kind of the musical center for much of what I've listened to and produced for the last 20 years, so I am pretty discerning. My tastes run to the Native Tongues (tribe called quest, de la soul, etc) side of things, as that's the music that really impacted me.

I've definitely run across some less-than-stellar Christian hip-hop, but you could also make the same statement about any kind of music, secular or Christian. The groups I listed off are great artists on a purely aesthetic level, and I'm not giving them a pass just because they're believers.

It's definitely an exciting time, as you alluded to. One note: most of the groups I listed are on the East Coast, underground vibe. There's quality Christian hip-hop that's closer to the mainstream in terms of sound and vibe, it's just not what I happen to listen to much myself. The beatmart crew would be a good place to start for that flavor.

Hope this helps,

bvl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up listening to a lot of hip-hop, and it's been kind of the musical center for much of what I've listened to and produced for the last 20 years, so I am pretty discerning. My tastes run to the Native Tongues (tribe called quest, de la soul, etc) side of things, as that's the music that really impacted me.

I've definitely run across some less-than-stellar Christian hip-hop, but you could also make the same statement about any kind of music, secular or Christian. The groups I listed off are great artists on a purely aesthetic level, and I'm not giving them a pass just because they're believers.

This is awesome to know! I too was a big fan of the Native Tongues, I'm excited to listen to some of the acts you mentioned.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always been told that the Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothin' to mess wit, but my source on that bit o' information is unreliable -- Dave Chapelle.

The Wu-Tang clan is nothing to mess with. But I hold them directly responsible for moving me into rock music. I probably would still be listening to Hip-Hop if my Dad didn't find my Ol' Dirty Bastard disc laying around my room and then decide to give it a listen. My Dad didn't agree with Ol' Dirty's view of women. Go figure. Then he made me get rid of about 80% of my collection. It was a very sad moment for me at the time. Part of me wants to re-purchase some of those albums that I lost but I can't bring myself to do it.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up listening to mostly hip-hop in high school, along with alt rock. These days, the hip-hop I listen to is mostly by believers. Here are some favorites:

Mars ILL

Deepspace5

Listener

New Breed

Dert

Soul-Junk

peace,

bvl

How do they compare to popular hip-hop? I remember about ten years ago hip-hop within the Christian community was laughable at best. I'm sure it's much better now, I feel the Christian community as a whole has made great strides in this regards. I work as a youth minister and most of the kids that I work with listen to hip-hop exclusively. Frankly, I'm a bit disturbed by the lyrical content of most of the stuff they play. Since most don't pay attention to the lyrics anyway and if they do, it's not critically, I'm insterested in providing them a bit more "wholesome" options, hopefully with a positive spiritual bent. It might even be a great exercise for them to compare the lyrical content of different MC's.

This is actuallly something that really concerns me right now. I firmly believe that rock music is dead/dying and that hip-hop is going to replace it. But as it stands most hip-hop (let alone Christian hip-hop) is sub-par. The only good stuff comes from the underground ( I agree about deepspace 5 and listener). I write alot about this on my blog. http://thethoughtsofbezalel.blogspot.com/ I've also got a group I'm in called soberminded that's trying to make artistic Christian hip-hop: myspace.com/soberminded . That's not to say that we're good, but we're trying. I really feel that this is an area that more Christian artists need to explore.

---------------------------------

I write for Christ and Pop Culture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Despite spending my teenage years listening to Run D.M.C. almost exclusively, I find myself, like andersk4, not avoiding hip hop but not able to find a lot that I want to listen to. I do like the Roots, and think they are very good. But they are a band, and they love Rock and Roll (their song The Seed is a metaphor for this tension - it talks about having an affair behind his lovers' (hip hop) back, and when the woman he's having the affair with has the baby, he's going to name her rock and roll - so they have to sneak around with their love for rock). I also like the Beastie Boys. I really like Arrested Development, and while they've broken up and gotten back together, they never did anything like that first album.

People I know respect the group LA Symphony, and their work as solo artists, especially Pigeon John. Pigeon John is touring with a guy called Lyrics Born who I'd heard of a few times (I think Paste reviewed him well), so I checked him out. I like his phrasing a lot - I think he's very good. He also plays with a band.

I'm interested in the positive rap artists, like the ones connected to the Roots (like Jean Grae, Common, Talib Kweli) though I haven't listened to them enough.

Jeff

Run DMC once rapped, "I'm the king of rock, there is none higher, sucker MCs, they call me sire."

The Beastie Boys retorted, "I'm the king of Scrabble, there is none higher, I get eleven points for the word 'quagmire'."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People I know respect the group LA Symphony, and their work as solo artists, especially Pigeon John.  Pigeon John is touring with a guy called Lyrics Born who I'd heard of a few times (I think Paste reviewed him well), so I checked him out.  I like his phrasing a lot - I think he's very good.  He also plays with a band.

Wow. I remember hearing alot of buzz about LA Symphony when they were going to get signed by Squint. I hadn't thought about them since that deal went south, but I just bought The End is Now on iTunes and it's really good. Thanks for bringing them up smile.gif

Weird thing, they're catagorized under rock. aeh.gif

Scott -- 2nd Story -- Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is actuallly something that really concerns me right now.  I firmly believe that rock music is dead/dying and that hip-hop is going to replace it. 

Really? "Rock 'n roll may not be dead/But it's gettin' sick" (Larry Norman, 1972)

But as it stands most hip-hop (let alone Christian hip-hop) is sub-par.  The only good stuff comes from the underground ( I agree about deepspace 5 and listener).  I write alot about this on my blog.  http://thethoughtsofbezalel.blogspot.com/  I've also got a group I'm in called soberminded that's trying to make artistic Christian hip-hop: myspace.com/soberminded . That's not to say that we're good, but we're trying.  I really feel that this is an area that more Christian artists need to explore.

I'm not much of a hip-hop fan, but there's a guy in my church (John Reuben, on Gotee Records) who may be what you're looking for. Here's a review of his latest album: http://www.christianitytoday.com/music/rev...vsthecynic.html

But I have relatively few points of comparison. Hip-hop is probably the true generational dividing line in popular music. I know very, very few people my age (as in, I can count them on one hand) who like it, even among those who still consider themselves avid music fans, and even among those who have strong backgrounds in jazz, blues, R&B, soul, etc.. And I admit, it's on the periphery of my musical radar. Periodically, somebody comes along (Run D.M.C., The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, KRS-One, Tribe Called Quest, US3, Guru, The Roots) and piques my interest. I particularly like the jazz-influenced stuff. But overall, it's the musical genre that is most likely to get me to shake my uncomprehending head and mutter "Kids today." That, and Broadway musicals, which my youngest daughter loves. When dad loves punk rock, you have to find other ways to rebel. I've never been to Oklahoma, but I hear the wind comes sweepin' down the plain. Makes me not want to go there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then there are the more instrumental acts such as DJ Shadow and Prefuse 73.

This is the sort of stuff that floats my boat, especially turntablists like Shadow, DJ Krush, The Avalanches, RJD2, etc.

I'm also a fan of some of the Anticon artists, especially Alias and Clouddead. Their brand of hip-hop is quite a bit more abstract and psychedelic than what people normally associated with hip-hop, but some of their stuff is absolutely mindblowing.

One recent hip-hop CD that I just love is Gift Of Gab's 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up. I also like Gab's work with his "main" gig, Blackalicious, but his solo album is just outstanding.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest cblackstone

I grew up on it. If you would ever look at my old cassette tapes, they were all hip-hop or r&b

Red Head Kingpin

Boogie Down Productions

Black Sheep

3rd Bass

Public Enemy

Some of that may be generational (born in 1976) but things like the beat and the flow just have a draw to certain people. Definitely not to my PHD in Choral Conducting Father and my Violin Performance major mother.

Newer acts just don't provide the variety and depth of earlier acts. i'll dance to 50, but I can only take so many code words for various anatomy parts and sexual acts. And while I applaud Eminem's willingness to push boundaries, his recent works haven't been the best

As for "Christian" hip-hop groups, I've only listened to one, LA Symphony. I was impressed and am eagerly awaiting their new album which hits this fall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is actuallly something that really concerns me right now.  I firmly believe that rock music is dead/dying and that hip-hop is going to replace it.  But as it stands most hip-hop (let alone Christian hip-hop) is sub-par.  The only good stuff comes from the underground ( I agree about deepspace 5 and listener).  I write alot about this on my blog.  http://thethoughtsofbezalel.blogspot.com/  I've also got a group I'm in called soberminded that's trying to make artistic Christian hip-hop: myspace.com/soberminded . That's not to say that we're good, but we're trying.  I really feel that this is an area that more Christian artists need to explore.

Thanks for adding to this thread, and I'll check out your music. I've read a few of your blog posts, too, and it's interesting to see your reasoning.

I don't agree that "the only good stuff comes from the underground", although that's where my personal aesthetic tastes lie. I guess if by "good" you mean "music I personally like to listen to", I would agree. If by "good" you mean "effective at communicating the Gospel or encouraging fellow believers", I disagree.

To some degree, I'm reacting specifically to your post here:

Christian Hip-Hop: Is it viable?

Specifically, I have some concern about these statements:

"I have heard so called

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I have heard so called “Christian” MCs rapping about how they take the Word of God to tha streets with the same style and music that I have heard secular rappers talk about taking drugs, violence, and sex to tha streets. Can this be anything less than sacrilegious?"

Just because you put sex in a movie scene doesn't make it sexy.  Seems like you could put Jesus in a lyric or "out in the Street" and you could get the same result.

In a way, I agree with what your saying. What I'm talking about is style not so much content. I believe you could discuss, for instance, sex in a song about teen pregnancy and the suffering it causes, but the style you use could keep it from being "sexy." But in the example here, and the one you gave, it was the way they portrayed sex (I.E. the style) that made it not "sexy." Therefore there was an unity between form (style) and theme (the theme of teen sex leading to sorrow and suffering and the style that does not glorify the sex). In the same way, if you have a song about Jesus the style should fit the theme. And if the style is suggestive of hate and pride, then it doesn't fit the theme of Christ. Just like if the un-sexy movie used a style that was similar to that used in porn films it clearly would be sexy and then the theme of teen pregnancy would be lost. I hope that helps.

Peace and God Bless,

non_euc.

If anyone wanted to listen to the Hip-Hop project I'm working on, here's the link;

http://www.myspace.com/soberminded . As I've stated in every post so far, we do not live up to the standard that I claim in my blog. Why? Because we're just starting and we have a lot of growing to do. But we are trying and any advice or comments would be wonderful.

---------------------------------

I write for Christ and Pop Culture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend gave me a new "worship" CD last week, assuming I was really gonna dig it. I gave it a spin. I think it's one of the most "blasphemous" recordings I've heard in a long, long time. Full of hollow, pep rally chants about Jesus, told only in the most artless, benign ways imaginable. After listening, i kinda felt like perhaps, Jesus wasn't real and this whole christianity thing was a big hoax. Then I drove over the rickenbacker causeway and saw the massive, blue expanse of the Atlantic ocean on a clear South FL afternoon, and had my faith renewed.

I thought I would bring this quote over from here: http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=6516 . Coltrane said this, and I think it gets to the heart of what I was talking about. This is something that Hans Rookmaaker talks a lot about, especially in his work "Modern Art and the Death of A Culture." What Coltrane is alluding to has much to do with style. It's not the theme of Christ that bothers him, but the style use to address Him. In the same way, much Christ hip-hop has good themes but the style is borderline or (in extreme cases) full-on blasphemy.

non_euc.

Post Script

Everyone should checkout the MoodSwing9 interview from March 19, 2004 over at the Sphere of Hip-Hop. He was a founding member of Anticon and has since become a Christian. He points to Rookmaaker and Schaeffer as major influences. Good stuff.

---------------------------------

I write for Christ and Pop Culture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

having labored over my hiphop for over a decade, working tirelessly to convince the world that christians can be fresh, i find it a bit discouraging to read through this thread.

it seems that very few people have a true sense of the current state of creative and/or artistic hip hop. not many people seem to know of any artists that are truly craftsmen, christian, and RAPPER. that's frustrating because almost everyone i know is just that, an artist and a christian.

almost 10 years ago we, FUTURE SHOCK, released a record under Brainstorm Artist Group. Our album, Remember the Future, was executive produced by the late Gene Eugene. It came at a time when we, as christian hiphop kids, were fed up with the message of the "secular" music scene, and unimpressed with the offerings of their "christian" counterparts. it was around that time that people like pigeon john, and la symphony, and other west coast underground heads began to seriously push into the culture of hip hop and work for change. our good friend pigeon john called a few months ago and left us a most encouraging message. he was listening to our first record, Remember...., and was convinced that we should re-release it because "people need to hear this album". very lofty praise, indeed. blush.gif we were deeply influenced, musically speaking, by the native tongue's, roots, freestyle fellowships, etc. we thought that the key to expressing our christian worldview was by reflecting the image of a creative God. we labored over content and meaning, on phrasing and depth, creativity and relevance. we were convinced that we would affect change in the market place. laugh.gif needless to say the market place was underwhelmed with our effort. we sold only 2,000 units. we were just one group of many who were in it to see lives changed, but also keenly aware of our artistic self and uncompromising in message and method. for those who aren't aware, things have changed dramatically.

now, pigeon john is making serious strides within the culture of progressive hip hop. pigeon, along with; la symphony, mars ill, listener, ds5, etc., are now sharing the stage with some of the culture's most influential acts. what's impressive to me about that is not that the "message" is now accessible to the intelligent underground, but rather, these artists are accepted on merit of their skill and creativity. that may sound backwards, but trust that it is quite an accomplishment AND it is quite a powerful witness. as a result, direct or indirect, we are seeing people like moodswing, adeem, qwel, cats from living legends, and others develop relationships with artists that they respect and admire AND are christian. this is victory.

american hip hop, and pop culture for that matter, has been innundated (sp?) with the "gospel message". pushed to the point of nausea, they have heard the rhetoric and SEEN the hypocrisy. they only respect authenticity and sincerity. the gospel must be lived out in full view of the culture. we have been able to reach people through our art by staying true to who we are as christians, letting our worldview inform our art, and not compromising the integrity of the culture of hip hop.

in some ways i have been hanging on to music, doing hiphop, in hopes of the christian community recognizing the artform as intelligent and creative expressions of faith. and it is because of that hope that i was able to find this site and share so much common ground with intelligent, informed people of faith. i hope you can return the favor and check out some intelligent, artistic people of faith who happen to express their worldview through hip hop.

thanks for your time

ahred

future shock

www.futureshockcrew.com

www.myspace.com/futureshock

also

www.pigeonjohn.com

www.lasymphony.com

www.tunnelrats.net

www.sphereofhiphop.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been enjoying reading this thread. Hip-Hop is an extremely vital and important piece of understanding pop culture in the 21st century, but it's one that's either misunderstood or not understood at all, especially from a Christian perspective. I started this thread in hopes of having a discussion on the art form of Hip-hop from positions of faith. I knew that not everyone would agree with one another and was/am fine with that. I think its good to recognize the importance of hip-hop in the music world today and dialouging about that importance is a huge step. I have gathered from the tone of many of the messages that there are many spiritually significant rappers making excellent music in terms of message (lyrical content) and quality of the music (they are good MC's and producers). Yet, I sense that these rappers are either:

a) not accepted by the mainstream because for their message.

cool.gif not accepted by the Christian community because of their art form.

I am wondering why this is. It sounds very familiar to what has happened to many spiritually minded rock artists in the last 10 to 20 years but are now begining to make inroads. It seems to me that it should be almost easier for hip-hop artists to make inroads due to the ever increasing popularity of the genre and the genre's roots in gospel music. Why is this? Why are spiritually minded artist failing to make inroads (with the exception of KRS-One and Kayne West)?

But, I freely admit, I do not understand hip-hop music. I don't understand it's language. I don't understand it's draw. I don't understand the underlying assumptions of any message in any group. Although I don't know if I'll ever begin listening to hip-hop again, I'm all for the process of understanding a huge genre of music that is vague to me.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

having labored over my hiphop for over a decade, working tirelessly to convince the world that christians can be fresh, i find it a bit discouraging to read through this thread.

it seems that very few people have a true sense of the current state of creative and/or artistic hip hop.

Edited by noneuclidean

---------------------------------

I write for Christ and Pop Culture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...