What’s the Difference Between Christian Rap and Gospel Rap?
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHRISTIAN RAP AND GOSPEL RAP?
In this article I may use the word rap and hip hop interchangeably being that they are very close in meaning in my opinion. So, first let me begin with my definition of a Christian rapper. A Christian rapper is a rapper that happens to be a Christian but may not necessarily rap about God. A Christian rapper may rap about their personal life experiences or anything that they feel led to speak about. Some Christian rappers may rhyme or speak about the things of God, while some may not speak about God at all in their songs. On the other hand, I believe a Gospel rapper to be a rapper that typically rhymes about God or the things of God. Gospel rappers tend to lean more towards using their music for ministry.
However, both the Christian rapper and the Gospel rapper roles are very similar. They usually do not use any profanity or speak about things that go against God. You can probably consider Christian rap as a clean alternative to secular rap that you hear on mainstream radio and TV. The same goes with Gospel rap; you get a clean version of rap, but with Gospel rap you may get an extra spiritual bonus. You get to hear about God and His word, even sometimes learning about scriptures in the bible. I also read a great article on rapzilla explaining the difference between Christian rap and Gospel rap, and I agree 100% with how they break it down and explain it as well.
FROM A SECULAR RAPPER, TO A CHRISTIAN RAPPER, TO A GOSPEL RAPPER
I was a fan of hip hop rap music since it first appeared on the scene back in the 70's. I was so much a fan of hip hop and rap music that I became a rapper myself. I used to rap to instrumentals way before the computer came on the scene. I had my 4-track tape recorder and I went to work producing my first hip hop cassette tapes. I then later stepped up my game a little bit and brought a Yamaha 4-track midi disc recorder. I continued to produce rap album after rap album, with a rap style I referred to as hardcore. I rapped about all the things that you hear about today on the radio, guns, drugs, money, girls, etc. As time went on, and when my relationship with God grew, my raps became cleaner and cleaner. I eventually got to a point where I was incorporating hidden bible principles and messages, but I was still using profanity in my raps.
Table Of Contents
- From A Secular Rapper, To A Christian Rapper, To A Gospel Rapper
- How I Was Able To Stop Cursing
- Becoming A Christian Rapper
- Becoming A Gospel Rapper
- Feeding Your Spirit With The Word Of God
- Benefits Of Putting Messages In Songs
- How This One Christian Rap Song Impacted My Life
- Christian Rap Then & Now
- Is There A Difference Between Christian Hip Hop And Hip Hop?
- Gospel Beats Versus Secular Beats
- Why Is It That Christian Hip Hop And Hip Hop Are In 2 Separate Genres?
- Why Is It That Christian Rap Doesn’t Have It’s Own Genre?
- Why Is Rap That Promote Sin Is Considered Mainstream But Positive Christian Rap Is Not?
HOW I WAS ABLE TO STOP CURSING
I would like to share this brief story real quickly about how I was able to stop cussing and using foul language through music. I figured this to be sort of an important piece to bring up about my background, especially if you are considering becoming a Christian rapper. My goal is to maybe help someone else who may want to know "how to stop cursing?" I had a terrible potty mouth growing up simply because I didn't know any better. Essentially, that's all I knew based on how my friends and everyone around me spoke. And I must admit that it is tough to stop cursing when you have been accustomed to speaking a particular way for years. However, I'm going to share my brief testimony on how I was able to overcome cursing through music without even realizing it. As I continued to rap and my flow got better over time, I decided to challenge myself to write raps without curse words going forward. Once I sat down to write my first rap, I was at a loss. I did not realize how much of a filler, curse words were. In many cases, one curse word was equivalent to 3 to 4 words. I looked at a previous verse I wrote, stripped it from the curse words, and was left with about 2 to 3 words in that verse. It was a very difficult task in the beginning because I had to replace curse words with actual words that made sense. Then, I realized how much of a cop-out it was to write lyrics with a bunch of curse words because it made the writing process easy. However, as a rhyme writer, I was up for the challenge. After the first couple of raps, it became easier and easier. It became the norm for me to write raps without curse words and I never looked back. I haven't written a curse word in a rap ever since. So, how was I able to stop cursing? Essentially, when I stop cursing in my raps, it transitioned over to my speech organically, without me even trying. I'm not saying that I never said a curse word after that, but my speech had taken a major turn for the better. It became easy to speak without cursing. To this day, I actually get a weird feeling even if I curse by accident, such as stomping my toe unexpectedly or missing that winning shot in a basketball game.
BECOMING A CHRISTIAN RAPPER
I was on my way from a secular rapper to a Gospel rapper. It was a process that took stages of growth. I took curse words out of my raps, but I was still saying things that really didn't line up with the word of God. However, I was a lot further than I was before. Over time I cleaned up my lyrical content and became more of a conscious type of rapper. I had hidden messages in my raps pointing towards God, but you had to read between the lines to really get the message. I continued to grow in the things of God and eventually was led near the realm of the Christian rapper status. However, I was on the fence for a while before I finally embraced the title "Christian rapper". I basically came to terms that I'm just going to go all in and stop being on the sidelines. So, in 2010, I decided to use my passion for rap music to glorify God.
BECOMING A GOSPEL RAPPER
I felt like I was finally home being considered a Christian rapper. I get to do what I enjoy and glorify God through my music at the same time. So, why did I go from a Christian rapper to a Gospel rapper? Well, it wasn't intentionally, simply based on the distinct small differences and meanings between a Christian rapper and a Gospel rapper, I sort of fell in the category of a Gospel rapper by default. My Christian rap style went into the direction that leans heavily on spiritual messages and bible scriptures. This way of spiritual type rap came out of necessity for me to create music as a form of ministry for myself. However, in many cases, you are not the only one who may be in the need of something or facing particular a challenge. My goal is to make music that ministers to the listener's soul; my own in particular. Not saying that it's anything wrong with Christian rap, essentially for me personally, music is a good tool for me to hear the word of God while enjoying the sound of hip hop. It opens up more opportunities for me to hear the word of God, when I'm listening to music, such as, while working out at the gym or going for a morning run in my neighborhood. Therefore, being a Gospel rapper and a listener or follower of Gospel rap artists; I tend to make the type of music I want to hear. I don't know if this is the case for other rappers, but I must admit, I do listen to my own music for inspiration. Sometimes, we have to minister to ourselves from time to time.
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