It is high time for a rant…
My parents listened to the “easy-listening” channel when I was a kid. Back in the 70s, easy listening meant the kind of music you would hear on the Lawrence Welk show. If they were feeling their oats they might listen to big band music, but I could never turn the channel to Elton John, Journey, Boston, or God forbid Led Zeppelin. I was subjected continually to a style I disliked. But I also respected my parents enough to submit nicely.
In the 80s I left home and played the music I wanted. I went into the Navy, purchased the biggest boom box my first check would buy, and jammed as loud as I could get away with in the barracks.
In the 90s I went to work for a company that made audio equipment. I got to meet a lot of the sound people who put on the big shows for everyone from Neil Diamond to Garth Brooks to Hootie and the Blowfish. The 90s saw the return and rise of odes and ballads to pop culture. I liked Jewel, Joan Osborne, and Merrill Bainbridge.
Though I claim Christianity as my faith since childhood, I was not a fan of Christian music until the 90s. After all, if it came from a hymnal it wasn’t any good 11 months out of the year. That kind of music was even worse than easy listening. Then I discovered there’s a whole Christian subculture with music that sounds like “real” music, but praises God instead of sex, drugs, and sorrow. I’ve been listening more to Christian than secular music for most of the last 15 years or so, though I do still try to keep up on secular music.
Then came rap. I realize that I rebelled the music of my parents, so it does not surprise me that Hootie and Jewel are dissed by this new generation. But rap? I mean, really. My favorite line about rap comes from the movie The Last Boy Scout starring Bruce Willis. The bad guys are beating him up and he’s taking it with a mean grin. One bad guy asks him, “Don’t you ever cry?” Willis replies, “You wanna make me cry? Play some rap music.” I think I about fell off the couch laughing at that line. I laughed because I feel the same way.
It never occurred to me that just because contemporary Christian music sounds like other music, that imitation of style would go so far as to include rap. Christian rap, aka c-rap… I thought such a phrase would be an oxymoron, or a paradox, or some other word with unusual consonants. But I never thought it would be real. But I was wrong. It is real. And frankly I hate it every bit as much as my parents hated CCR and ELO.
Tonight I was listening to my favorite local Christian music station. Sometimes they play music I don’t care for, but tonight they had on what I can only call c-rap. And c-rap pretty well describes it. The great thing about my radio is, it has other buttons and I know how to use them. This station plays a lot of music I enjoy, and some I don’t care as much, but in spite of the DJ’s many antics, I have not before been subjected c-rap on this station.
I suppose I’m the most spoiled person in the most spoiled country in the world. I didn’t say all this to pout. I’m looking at it all and realizing just how blessed I am, and how bless we are as a people who live here in America. I have a job, a car with a radio, and more than one station to choose from. It is still alright to broadcast the name of Jesus in lyrics and oration in any style. There are enough styles to choose from that I can pick and choose, including turning off c-rap just because it doesn’t suit me. I’m blessed to be alive in a time and place where I have the luxury to turn off c-rap. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.