SAN DIEGO – Rapper and spoken word artist Propaganda says current church leaders demonstrate their authenticity in ways that preachers of previous generations never did, and are beginning to attract a wave of young unbelievers in the process.
"I think it has a lot to do with authenticity because what we're finding now is that there are dudes that don't say, 'yo, if you come to Jesus, all your problems will be solved and if you struggle it's because you don't have enough faith ... ' You have dudes now telling the truth and admitting that they are sinners," Propaganda told The Christian Post at The Heart Revolution Conference at Cornerstone Church in San Diego Thursday.
Fresh off the last leg of his tour for his album "Crimson Cord," Propaganda performed and shared his poetry at the conference. His main message was that the church should be known as a leader in today's culture but the challenge is to not compromise the Gospel's core message.
"There is a challenge to adapt and allow for change though," Propaganda said. "There was a time in the art world when the church was ahead of the curve and was innovating rather than chasing and now I feel like we're chasing the culture. That's an issue and the younger generation has picked up on that but at the end of the day, what saves us is the Gospel and the faithful preaching of it."
Propaganda shared that he was able to hone his skills as a poet and artist while growing up in south central Los Angeles, and it was his church environment that served as a catalyst for him to enter the Christian art world.
"I went to a church where there were a bunch of graffiti dudes, they used to airbrush after church so our pastor was kind of already ahead of the times, he allowed it. So, I didn't know Christian hip-hop was a thing when I was first introduced to it," said Propaganda.
He added, "Hip-hop was so young in Los Angeles at the time, you would be just happy to find someone else who had the same record as you. There wasn't a christian hip hop scene so the thought didn't cross my mind. It wasn't until years later when someone asked, 'how long have you been doing Gospel rap?' to which I responded, 'what's that?'"
Although he began to carve a niche in Gospel-based hip-hop without backlash from Christians, Propaganda said he faced pushback based on race and socioeconomic status from individuals who underestimated him for being a black, inner city kid.
Propaganda notes that he has grown into a story teller from a "social commentary perspective."
" ... My background is in illustration and intercultural interstudies. I have a masters in social science so I still think like a social scientist ... I'm just a student of the culture. As an artist, I'm not going to give you answers because I don't have them but I hear what you're saying, and I'm seeing things that you don't so the sky's the limit as far as content."