The Truth Behind Hip Hop

Written by Todd Barnes


Mr. Lewis is Wrong About Christian Rap

You may be familiar with the ministry of, or video series by, G. Craige Lewis wherein he basically states that rap is the devil’s music, and that there can be no such thing as “holy hip hop” because “hip hop” was founded as a false religion by Afrika Bambaataa and KRS One back in the 1970’s.

A brother Anthony of Christian rap group Hazakim wrote an excellent article refuting Mr. Lewis’ teaching on many fronts, and in particular on the origins of secular hip hop, crediting DJ Cool Herc as the real founder of “hip hop.” I am certainly no hip hop historian so as to that issue I simply refer you to brother Anthony’s well written article which is available here.

The purpose of this blog is to provide you with yet further evidence that Mr. Lewis is wrong about Christian rap.

What Exactly is Christian Rap?

To most people, Holy Hip Hop, Christian Hip Hop, His Hop, and Christian Rap are synonymous terms that simply indicate a style of Christ-centered music. What ultimately distinguishes rap from all other forms of music is the fact that the vocalist on a given “song” is not actually singing. It sounds more like he’s talking, so we call it “rapping.” It’s pretty much poetry set to fit a certain tempo.

The fact of the matter is that Christian rap as an art-form in America goes all the way back to at least 1943, way before Bambaataa or Cool Herc.

Stalin' Wasn't Stallin'

As the Lord would have it, I came across this info some years ago and revisited it in light of Mr. Lewis’ claims that rap belongs to the devil.

I found a song called “Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’” written by Willie Johnson and performed by his group, “The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet” in 1943. The song, which was on a compilation album entitled “The Gospel Sound” released by the Legacy/Columbia Record Label in 1994, can be found on YouTube.

For example:

When I first heard it my mind was blown. Who would have thought that Christians were rapping in the early 1940’s? Well they were. According to Wikipedia:

“‘Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’’ was written during World War II, and praises the efforts of Joseph Stalin in his stand against Adolf Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. . . . The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet spoke (or sermonized) the lyrics of the song against a rhythm of back-up vocals.

It was a moderate hit in 1943. It has since appeared on several compilation records, including Gospel Greats: 60 Legendary Performances (The Soho Collection, 2005).”

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin_Wasn’t_Stallin’

The Devil Stole Rap Music

So, given that Christians were rapping in the 1940’s, if Mr. Lewis is right in that secular rap didn’t start until it came into play as part of a false religion in the 1970’s, then the implication is that rap music never did rightfully belong to the devil. He stole it. (Go figure). Now he wants to say it belongs to him, but Jesus said:

“[w]hen he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”  John 8:44

Jesus further said:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

The Devil Hates Christian Rap

Christian rap artists simply use this art form in the Spirit of 1st Corinthians 9:22 to draw others to Jesus so that they may have life and have it more abundantly. And that’s exactly why the devil hates Christian rap.

The fact that Christian rap is effective is exactly why the devil has tried to turn the church against Christian rap. Because rap music is so powerful, the devil wants to be the only one using it to influence society. I have often heard church folk talk about “taking back what the devil stole.”

Why not apply that philosophy to rap music?

“The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1.

Therefore Christians, in spite of what G. Craige Lewis or anybody else has to say on the matter,

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16.

Psalm 150

Let All Things Praise the LORD
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
2 Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!

Lyrics to “Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’”

Stalin wasn’t stallin’
When he told the beast of Berlin
That they’d never rest contented
til they had driven him from the land
So he called the yanks and English
And proceeded to extinguish
The Fuhrer and his vermin
This is how it all began
Now, the devil, he was reading
In the Good Book one day
How the Lord created Adam
To walk the righteous way
And it made the devil jealous
He turned green up to his horns
And he swore by things unholy
That he’d make one of his own
So he packed two suitcases
Full of grief and misery
And he caught the midnight special
Going down to Germany
Then he mixed his lies and hatred
With fire and brimstone
Then the devil sat upon it
That’s how Adolf was born
Now Adolf got the notion
That he was the master race
And he swore he’d bring new order
And put mankind in its place
So he set his scheme in motion
And was winning everywhere
Until he up and got the notion
For to kick that Russian bear
Stalin wasn’t stallin’
When she told the beast of Berlin
That they’d never rest contented
til they had driven him from the land
So he called the yanks and English
And proceeded to extinguish
The Fuhrer and his vermin
This is how it all began
Yep he kicked that noble Russian
But it wasn’t very long
Before Adolf got suspicious
That he had done something wrong
cause that bear grabbed the Fuhrer
And gave him an awful fight
Seventeen months he scrapped the Fuhrer
Tooth and claws, day and night
Then that bear smacked the Fuhrer
With a mighty armored paw
And Adolf broke all records
Running backwards to Krakow
Then Goebbels sent a message
To the people everywhere
That if they couldn’t help the Fuhrer
God, don’t help that Russian bear”
Stalin wasn’t stallin’
When he told the beast of Berlin
That they’d never rest contented
til they had driven him from the land
So he called the yanks and English
And proceeded to extinguish
The Fuhrer and his vermin
This is how it all began
Then this bear called on his buddy
The noble fighting yank
And they sent the Fuhrer running
With their ships and planes and tanks
Now the Fuhrer’s having nightmares
Cause the Fuhrer knows darn well
That the devil’s done wrote “welcome”
On his residence in hell

Stalin wasn’t stallin’
When he told the beast of Berlin
That they’d never rest contented
til they had driven him from the land
So he called the yanks and English
And proceeded to extinguish
The Fuhrer and his vermin
This is how it all began