Tired of this c-rap

Christian RapIt 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.

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About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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3 Responses to Tired of this c-rap

  1. Todd Beal says:

    I can enjoy most any style of song, providing the music facilitates the Holy Spirit, not human ego in the name of God.  Hats off to you, Lance, for keeping an open mind well past your late twenties.  I know that’s funny, but I appreciate that.

  2. Yo yo yo, my bro!
    You crack me up!

  3. Eclipse Now says:

    I went to the Sydney U2 Concert. They had a rapper as the warm-up artist. From deep in the bowels of the Sydney Stadium, where we were buying our U2 T-shirts and some food, I heard this sound like co-ordinated grenade attacks. (I was in the Aussie army 4 years). Apparently it was the drum-beat of some ‘rap-artist’. I was glad I brought my hearing protection with me! The sound was not well mixed where we were in the Stadium, and I even thought of renaming U2 “Screaming Treble!” based on the poor quality.

    But the rapper beforehand? Initially I thought of alternate band names for him like “I yell because I have no voice” or “I need an excuse” or “I wanted to” or something like that, but after a while settled on “I’m stealing your money and 5% of your hearing as I shout bad rhymes at you.”

    Hmmm, maybe I’ll just stick with “I wanted to”.

    I’d share my *real* thoughts on this, but I’m shy.

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