Is Hip-Hop Christian Music? Propaganda Answers
Although some Christians might not listen to various forms of secular music, Christian artist Propaganda believes that all music is "God's reflecting" and believes that listening for the "fingerprints of God" hidden within secular music can actually be an "act of worship."
Propaganda, also known by his real name of Jason Petty, a popular hip-hop and spoken word artist from Los Angeles, appeared on a recent episode of the Dove Channel's "Frankly Faraci" and was asked by host Matthew Faraci whether or not hip-hop is Christian music.
"Well, hip-hop is hip-hop. And you know, Jesus ain't die for hip-hop," the 37-year-old former school teacher answered. "He died for people. Like any other genre, somebody puts their personhood and their faith and their beliefs into whatever they do."
"So country music isn't Christian music. It's country music. There are Christians that do it. Do you know what I am saying?" he continued. "And hip-hop itself, depending on who you ask and what day you ask them, is much more than a musical genre, it's more of a cultural expression that came out of sociopolitical and economic state that the nation is in."
Propaganda agreed that hip-hop can be Christian music, if the outlet is used for such a purpose.
"Absolutely, just like any other thing can be Christian," he said. "So, as an artist who is doing hip-hop, hip-hop is the utility, the artist plugging into that might or might not be Christian."
Faraci added that even though some "bad actors" have given rap a "bad name, that doesn't mean that the genre is "inherently bad."
Propaganda agreed, stating that he believes that all music is "God reflecting."
"I have a worldview that believes that there is no sphere of the universe that God is not sovereign over. So all music, all art, all beauty is God's. So, all of it is God reflecting. Evil exists in the hearts of men and women," he explained. "Help me understand how the content of hip-hop is any different than 'Hotel California' or any other musical genre where people are just telling their soundtrack of life that is sometimes filled with incredible debauchery."
"The racial undertone of that is like, 'Well, hip-hop is made by black people.' So, somehow we have to give this a caveat like it's wrong. But, it don't have to be wrong. How come nobody is saying that about any other genre?" Propaganda asked. "So, I would say that when you are creating art, you are either creating art about the light or about what the light is shining on. In that sense, every album is telling God's story."
In an interview with The Christian Post following the release of the "Frankly Faraci" episode, Propaganda further explained his worldview on how all music is telling of God's story and compared the story told in Views, an album released last year by the popular rap artist Drake, to the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament.
"When someone attempts to sit down and articulate an experience ... it is still singing of a lens through which how to view the world. It might be, 'I see the world as hopeless, despairing and empty, which is really what the Lord told us the world would be without Him," Propaganda said.
"I think an example like Drake's Views from the 6 album. That album is essentially saying what all his other albums are saying, which is: 'Man, I got success but it really doesn't mean anything though. I miss all my ex-girlfriends. I wish they were still my girl but I want to be able to do it all on my own. I miss my city. I ride for my city, but my city doesn't love me enough as they could,'" he summarized.
"That's Ecclesiastes. What you are saying is all the trappings in the world are vanity," he continued. "I'm like, 'Yeah, that's been said before.' What I am saying is that in some way, you are still telling God's story whenever you open up. That is a worldview that I have."
As many Christians throughout the world tend to stick to listening to only Christian-based music, Propaganda was asked if people who refrain from listening to secular music are missing out on God's reflection in other places.
"I don't know. It is definitely a freedom. I think that we all in some ways blind ourselves to something. We all in some ways are self edited and limit ourselves to the experiences to the things that are sort of influencing our lives," he answered. "I feel like if someone feels like that is a detriment to their rock, then that is great. But I think they are completely missing out on an opportunity to stretch their muscles and see the fingerprints of God everywhere, which I think it is an act of worship."
"I think they are kind of like limiting their ability to do that because we somehow put this imaginary category of 'secular' on something and that is now off limits," he contended. "I do think that you are missing an opportunity to see God's fingerprints in things but I don't want to attribute anymore value for [secular] music."