8.27.2013

Glory Seeking

PermalinkHip hop usually carries impure connotations, whether thematic (violence, misogyny), semantic (heavy use of the n-word and the b-word), or visual (bling, sex).  This isn't a totally fair characterization, since not all artists feature these things.  For sure none of these things are inherent to hip hop.

One thing that you could make an argument is inherent to hip hop is glory seeking.  As an art form, hip hop can be seen as primarily about glorifying oneself.  This can take the form of showcasing the skill of the artist, whether in spinning records or spitting rhymes.  Or it can be in the choice of words (braggadocio) or posture (flamboyance).

Which is what, I think, makes Christian hip hop so interesting.  I may be biased, because I like hop hop as a musical genre.  But if you're not into rap, you should give Christian rap a listen.  Because it is meaningful to listen to (and, admittedly, I don't listen that often, so the knowledge I'm drawing on here is very, very shallow) artists in this genre take hip hop's innate glory seeking posture and point it not to themselves but to God.  (Click here for some samples, from the Desiring God blog.)

This goes to what ought to be the big line of demarcation for Christians of all professions and persuasions.  We're all made different, and becoming a Christian does not mean that everyone becomes the same; rather, it means God reroutes our uniqueness in a way that glorifies Him.  So hip hop heads who follow Jesus needn't necessarily renounce their hip hop ways if instead they take that part of themselves and use it as a conduit to draw attention and honor to God. 

The link (and photo) above is not unintentional.  The perspective of Desiring God is that we are all about glory seeking.  In that sense, hip hop is just one of many such channels, albeit a unique and compelling one.  The question is: whose glory are we seeking?

Say I’m a hedonist I seek my pleasure
Not in sex, nope He’s much better
Not in wealth, nah He’s my treasure.
Pursuing anything else will just upset you.

“Satisfaction (Hedonist)” - Trip Lee 


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