I recently read a book with the title the Hip Hop church. The writers wants to link the Hip-Hop movement with the gospel and suggest that we can use elements within the culture to spread the gospel. It made me to think. Some would say: For the first time ?
Anyway, I also cut my teeth on Hip-Hop, after I destroyed my father's Reader's Digest Beetles collection. It became the vinyls for scratching. No, I am lying... I scratched it beyond recognition, as an act of faith. I was moved by a scathing Christian book on rock music and the influence of the devil on it and I listened to youth preachers nailing them (us) for 'backward masking'. 'Another one bites the dust' from Queen became 'Its fun to smoke marijuana' backwards. Scouts honor, I did smash my father's collection, because 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' from the Beetles of course became a call to take LSD, 'Hey Jude' (the song I liked most) was somehow connected to another drug, maybe weed or something, and so forth. Many of these songs were, of course, 'white pop music', but me, being a hybrid coloured, enjoyed also this, with a fair amount of guilt- coming from the church and the comrades. To make a long story short: pop culture is the air that young people breathe and articulates deep emotions and struggles in ways that cold hard reasoning can't. Is it then simply enough to plunder Tupac or LL Cool J's thunder and use it ? Maybe, we do need to get behind the words, antics and glitter to capture the soul, the hidden messages behind the songs. Am I arguing for another 'burning fire' of the ipods ? For now let's maybe only erase the memory and format the hard disk- which would suffice.
No, I don't think these old school 'preachers' took pop culture serious enough. They did not get behind the supposedly profanity and blasphemy and notice the serious questions that this culture is raising. Let me add: Don't worry, I am also not fooled by the current neo-liberal commodification and bling-bling stuff. I am interested in the underground stuff, who are also not fooled... this is the heart of a generation... and I think: a church that miss this (heart)beat is not hip and certainly hop(e)-less.
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