Here are just two posts on the recent Christian rap issue that are worth reading:
Shai Linne and Scott interacted in a mutually respectful way, I felt. And I hope they can dialogue publicly. If they do, I would like to hear more from Shai on this question of what rap means. I found it intriguing and helpful when he talked—much more knowledgeably than I ever could—about the spectrum of styles within the rap genre. Perhaps my exposure to rap has been limited to whatever makes it onto NPR, but all the rap I’ve ever heard means something pretty clear, I’d say. It means “bravado.”
Joe Carter’s statement bears heeding: “Those of us who believe, as I do, that the medium of Reformed hip hop is defensible should give these men—and other critics—an opportunity to hear an informed defense of the genre as a genre. It’s not enough to condemn, we must also convince. But before we can convince others that the genre itself can have a positive—or at least neutral—influence apart from the message it carries, we should first be sure that we ourselves understand the medium we are defending.” One reason I’m not convinced of the legitimacy of rap for Christian purposes is that I’ve never heard such a defense. I’ve heard that it is more word-centered than other genres, which may be true―but it fails to address the issue of genre. I’ve heard that musical style is neutral, but that is theologically defective. And I’ve heard those who object to using Christian rap called names such as legalist and racist, but again no argumentation regarding the genre itself—which is necessary to properly evaluate the charges of legalism or racism.