Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Pt. 4

The Effects Of The Hip-Hop Culture On Social Morality, Sexuality & Promiscuity.

To continue our examination of the church and its relationship to hip-hop we must look at some of the peripheral issues that help set the stage for the message and trap of hip hop and the churches oblivious nature in relationship to those peripheral issues. ie: We gotta look at what the culture uses to trap our youth and why the church has been so slow to respond to those set traps.

One of the first things to note about modern hip-hop is the tone that it sets for it's adherents and followers. As we've stated in Hip-Hop, Idolatry & The Church Pt. 1, hip-hop is a anti-God and anti-Christ world view, complete with it's own codes, standards, and statements of faith or belief. These elements qualify it as a humanistic religious system. That alone makes hip-hop incompatible with Christianity and Christian practice in general.

Biblical Insights

In ANE or (Ancient Near East) biblical history there were several areas that pagan religions affected among it's adherents. I will focus on a few of them in this section and draw parallels to what hip-hop has done among many of our youth and society in general.

Part A- Social Morality & Clothing

Deut. 22:5 ~ "5-The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."

Known as probably one of the most popular scriptures in the identification of a holiness church, this verse has often been quoted in and out of context to make the point that God wants there to be a difference in appearance between male and female. In proper context it should be noted that this scripture was referring to pagan practices of dawning the apparel of the opposite sex during religious and other ceremonies.
  • “As the word...geber is here used, which properly signifies a strong man or man of war, it is very probable that armour is here intended; especially as we know that in the worship of Venus, to which that of Astarte or Ashtaroth among the Canaanites bore a striking resemblance, the women were accustomed to appear in armour before her.” ~ Clark, Adam. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 22:5". "Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible".
Due to false worship, there is also strong historical evidence that a woman was not permitted to array herself for battle with a man's armor or war garments including men's weapons such as swords. This is one reason that Jael killed Sisera with a tent spike and not a sword. (Judges 4:21) A sword was used as a man's weapon and would be prohibited for a woman's usage. (See Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism from an article entitled “Cross Dressing and Deuteronomy 22:5".)

Regardless of the interpretation, the bible is deliberate about setting forth a distinction between not only men and women, but apparel that is honorific to God in general, and does not confuse genders. In the Christian world view garments were and are an extension of worship and honor towards God.

Hip hop however, has established it's own purpose for garments and totally blurred if not obliterated the lines of acceptable societal standards and reestablished and norm based on it's own idea of street fashion.

A Culture Of Death & Resurgence Of False Religion
One such evidence of garments that help proliferate the hip-hop message is the skull and crossbones scheme set forth and popularized by fashion designer Mark ECKO. This is one of the most popular arrays of garments among today's youth and the hip-hop faithful. The problem here is that the design itself was originally used to indicate either one of two things 1- When the bones are behind the skull- poison or danger and 2- when the bones are underneath the skull- a "Jolly Roger" which indicates piracy or thievery. In both cases the skull and crossbones combination ultimately indicates DEATH. In other words the whole symbolism and purpose of the display is death.

Now, the skeptic says that the military also uses such symbols, and we call them heroes and I respond by saying, rightfully so. However, I would point out the mission of the military in times of war. The military shows up for an express purpose and that's to destroy the enemy and his plans. Knowing that, I would say that the use of the symbol is highly known and in line with its message...need I say more?

We find skull and crossbones on caps, shoes, sox, underwear, panties, etc. There is a complete wardrobe full of designs of death awaiting to be dawned whether one is sleeping or awake. Further this reminder is walking around on the streets daily, going from classroom to classroom in our school and hanging out on the street corners.

Thanks to the efforts of individuals like G. Craige Lewis and EX Ministries, we have also become very acutely aware of the rise of Egyptian deity in hip hop clothing. Companies and individuals like Kimora L. Simmons's "Baby Phat" is simply a humanistically resurrected symbol of the Egyptian sex goddess and watchmen of the underworld.

In his DVD "Exodus Into Egypt", Elder Lewis raised the irony of teaching sexual purity and abstinence to a young lady while at the same time clothing her in symbols and fashions designed to incite promiscuous behavior.

Now to be fair, many of you purchased these types of clothes looking for inexpensive or affordable deal and some of you found these items sometimes on the clearance rack. That's how some of this clothing has ended up on your child, because it is so abundant and the market has been inundated with the material. I would like to say that I understand this, but I believe that as Christians, we are challenged to make a better choice and identification as to not associate our children with the wrong message and to defeat or overcome any spiritual ties with what may be a hinder or immersion into spiritual powers that we were unaware that existed by wearing certain clothing or apparel.

Currently there's even a more in your face type of brand appearing that promises to be, among other things, 100% HOOD, 100% SNITCH-FREE, 100% STREET, and 100% GANGSTA. "get every dollar" shirts and skull shirts are sold with excitement as to "represent da hood." (pictured left) These type of companies are appearing and reappearing regularly with more and more outrageous and elaborate designs centered on appealing to the hip-hop faithful and has even crossed over to the "Christian" hip-hop faithful looking to maintain their hip hop identity.

I believe that these clothes and methods of marketing them are demonically inspired as evidenced. Do I believe the producers of these fashions are deliberately making a spiritual statement? No. Not in all cases but Out of all available symbols, what would make a fashion designer place a symbol of thievery, death, or sexual promiscuity upon a garment for someone to wear if there was no overarching premise that the individuals wearing the garment would fulfill or identify with that symbol?

With that said is it any wonder that among young black males in particular, that crime and incarceration rates are on the increase? Is there any wonder that according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that African Americans represent approximately 12% of the US population, but manage to account for more than 50% of all new HIV infections? Facts are that approximately half of the nearly 1.3 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS are African American. The figures get much worse when we look at babies. Out of the new infections of HIV/AIDS among babies, 67% are African American. Then among the young people which hip-hop targets, the infection rated for new cases is 70% African American youths. Not to mention that we also have the highest rates of STD's (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). Sounds to me like we are some of the last people who need anything that even remotely resembles death on our clothes or otherwise.

Yes, we are aware of the social and moral breakdowns of the family, education, and political systems that have contributed to these problems, however, drug sales and thefts (piracy) are among the top crimes that modern youth commit, and then there's murder (or death) that is on the increase in nearly every community in the country, and the ravaging effects of abortion which is death unidentified within the black community to the tune of almost 1,400 children on average per day.

Ephes. 6:12 ~ "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

There is probably not a gangsta rapper, gang member, or even staunch hip-hoppa, that doesn't own one or two pieces of these types of garments with symbols and representations to boot. In addition, there are not too many young ladies struggling in the area of sexual promiscuity, that don't dawn a "Baby Phat" garment or item. Could there be a spiritual doorway opened through the use of these symbols upon the body and in our garments? I think the obvious answer is YES! Is this the only reason for the behavior that we see in our children? No. That would certainly be an oversimplified answer and overstate the case we make. The point is that there are common threads (no pun intended) that do add to the environment and the personification of the sin problem that develops from the hip-hop culture.

Ephes. 6:13-18 ~ "13-Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14-Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15-And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16-Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17-And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18-Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints"

A very interesting note about this scripture. It dresses us up spiritually. It gives every believer male or female armor and weaponry, and that armor is activated and maintained through fervent and effectual prayer, and these garments promote life. What we have noted through some of the more popular hip-hop clothing manufacturers is that hip-hop seeks to dress us up in its garments and those garments promote death. This complete action is synonymous with the nature, power and scope of sin.

Heb. 10:20-22 ~ " 20-By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21-And having an high priest over the house of God; 22-Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."

Anointed With Death
Untimely, Timely or Purely Coincidence?

As noted on Raperviews.com, there is a growing list of young hip-hop artists, producers and MC's who make their sudden departure from this world. We all know about the murders of Hip-hop apostles Notorious BIG and Tupac, and old school, 37 year old, hip hop artist Jam Master J. (aka Jason Mizell-10/30/2002) co founder of rap group Run DMC, but recently there has been a series of other deaths relating to the hip-hop faithful. Let's look back a little bit:

On April 11th 2006, 32 year old hip-hop underground producer Proof (aka Deshaun Holton) was murdered at a Detroit Nightclub CCC. The interesting thing about this death is that in Eminem's 2005 music video "Like Toy Soldiers" the narrative was based around a hypothetical shooting and murder of Proof and his subsequent funeral. Was this merely a coincidence?

On December 5th 2007, 33 year old Pimp C (aka Chad Butler) of the group UGK died of unknown causes and was found face down in his hotel room bed. Of notable interest, he had been working on a collaboration with Three 6 Mafia (666 Mafia) shortly before his death. When working with a group labeled after "The Antichrist" can we account this as simply ordinary?

There was 21 year old female R & B Singer LaLa Brown (aka Yolanda Brown) and her producer/boyfriend JeTannue Clayborne (aka: Kool Aid) who were found dead inside Loud Enuff Productionz studio a Milwaukee, WI. production studio. Does the culture require blood at any age?

Shocking the hip-hop world at the end of 2008 was the supposed suicide of Producer Shakir Stewart, who was an Executive VP at Def Jam promoted only shortly after Jay Z departed from the company late 2007. Shakir was also responsible for the hit BET series "Brothers to Brutha". According to Stewart's fiance, Michelle Rivers, who was pregnant with their second child at the time of his death, Shakir's problems began last Halloween when Shakir was acting notably strange. Those problems ended in his suicide the next day when he shot himself in the head on Nov.1st 2008 after a conversation with close friend Herb Smith who was trying to find out what was wrong with him. (See Hip Hop Weekly Volume 3, Issue 24 pg. 23) What made a man with supposedly everything to live for kill himself suddenly?

There is a list of other young individuals who have died of natural causes such as heart attacks, kidney failures etc. Could there be a spiritual requirement of young blood due from participants and promoters of this industry? It's worth a spiritual consideration for sure.

Part B - Sexual Identity & Promiscuity

Although the song had no redemptive value and was laced with sporadic profanity, "Jesus Walks" was a top seller by Producer Kanye West. In fact the song was so popular that youth groups all around the country were preforming it and one of the largest AME churches in Maryland invited Kanye in to "evangelize" their youth. One of the most devastating things about this was that Kanye was actually talking about making a drug sale and wanted the favor of God in doing so. That bit of information is actually found in these lyrics:

"A trunk full of coke rental car from Avis
My momma used to say only Jesus can save us
Well momma I know I act a fool
But I'll be gone 'til November I got packs to move I Hope"

In addition to this although Kanye will pose as Jesus for rthe cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, according to Bossip.com Kanye doesn't even believe in Jesus as defined biblically and actually tends to believe in a "iconic" Jesus instead:

"I believe in Jesus as an icon, but I don’t feel the responsibility to put my life on Jesus. I feel I need to take responsibility for my own successes and failures. Why I say, ‘I don’t give it all up to Jesus’ is because there are a lot of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives, and always think Jesus is gonna handle it. And, that’s what I refuse to do."

Now the facts are that we have a celebrity, that mentions the name Jesus, is hailed as some sort of spiritual guru within Christianity for it, and doesn't even believe in the God of the bible.

It only gets worse. Not only does Kanye take fashion tips from gays (because he believes that gay people are filled with style) through his company called Moxsie, but he also confirms that he has been addicted to pornography since the age of 5, and is so tempted when he enters an adult book store, that sometimes he buys whole shelves of DVD's at a time to add to his already burgeoning library of pornography.

And the church responds by allowing him to preach and share his spiritual beliefs with our children?

This would not be so problematic if it weren't for the fact that these individuals come to the church and the church seeks them out to ask them to spread their beliefs and they confuse droves of young people and otherwise because the church is so accepting of their personas and celebrity.

Update: 2/2009- Kanye west in an interview with VIBE Magazine Entitled: Jesus walks No More....Kanye says this regarding counseling for his late mother's passing:

"I don't believe in therapy. I believe you gotta walk it out, you gotta live it out...And sometimes you have to cry it out...I don't believe in medication or pain killers and I don't believe in religion and giving it all up to Jesus."

What Those Who Promote Hip Hop Actually Believe About The Spirituality Of The Music

In a Feb.1st 2009 Interview by Gary Panetta of the Peoria Journal Star Newspaper, the rapper Professor Griff (aka Richard Griffin and The Minister Of Information) formerly of Public Enemy, shared 
his views of music and spirituality. What makes this so important is that he is currently making his rounds with a tour called Black History 101 and sharing his views with students and whomever will listen. His religious perspective is Hindu. Professor Griff's aim is to display how Hip-Hop has strayed from its roots into both music rhythms and beats that can be harmful and damaging to the individual even if on a subconscious level. His seminars are filled with an Eastern perspective on western culture and symbols. He even has gone so far as to call McDonalds, "McDevils" because of the food that they serve which, in his opinion, damages the body. Don't worry, he probably has a "pet name" for your favorite restaurant too. In the Journal Start interview this is part of what he had to say:

Q: Music is also a way of connecting with that higher self you're talking about?

A: "Of course. Definitely. There are certain frequencies that cause the body and cells in the body to do certain things. We know that. That's why we use music to heal."

When asked about the roots of music especially that of West Africa he said that the modern mixture of Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone and James Brown along with some funky drumbeats,

"...It raised peoples consciousness level. It caused people to move. That's why we call it the hip-hop movement- because it made you move. This is the thing that young people today fail to understand."

He believes music is an energy or force that is preexistent and constantly passed down.

"...energy cannot be destroyed. It cannot be created or destroyed. It just changes forms. We understand that hip-hop was here before. We just didn't call it hip-hop..."we've always done the four elements of hip-hop (deejayin, emceeing, which often involves rappin'; breakin, also known as break dancin, and grafitti art.) we just didn't call it hip-hop."
Summary:

If it is true that hip-hop has a spiritual element as is currently promoted by it's proponents, then one cannot overlook that hip hop promotes both natural and spiritual death and that death is perpetuated upon our youth.

Currently I do not see anything positive coming out of hip-hop and that makes me wonder why anyone within the church would want to preserve any of it for themselves and others who are called Christian? Does simply changing the name to "Christian" or "Holy" and lyrics to bible verses somehow sanctify this decidedly false religion and worldview? I believe not. That facts are as follows:
  • Hip hop promotes and fosters a culture of death
  • Hip hop adherents live in that death culture as if it is normal
  • Hip hop promotes promiscuity and sexual perversion calling it "freedom"
  • Hip hop views the church as a marketing opportunity and mission-field to spread and promote its message
Now I haven't dealt with and probably will not deal with issues such as tattoos, anklets and piercings in this series. As you can see the hip hop culture is expansive and very pervasive, and my time will not allow me to approach every aspect at once, but I hope that you can see the obvious spiritual dangers that have been set forth.

In the next post we will address the redemption of hip hop. Some still believe that hip-hop can be redeemed and used to glorify God. You already know my answer but we will look at that question biblically and I pray that you will be blessed. Thank you and may the Lord bless you greatly.

Blessed!
If You Haven't Already Done So, Don't Forget To Read:

4 comments:

  1. This line by itself ought to be enough to send chills up the spine of individuals as it pertains to hip-hop music and its effects on our culture:

    Q:Music is also a way of connecting with that higher self you're talking about?

    A:"Of course. Definately. There are certain frequencies that cause the body and cells in the body to do certain things. We know that. That's why we use music to heal."

    If people weren't aware that this stuff wasn't directed and intentional before, they should know it now.

    By the way, I received a call today from what I call a research assistant who shared with me the divination and intents of Rihanna's lyrics and song "Umbrella"...I'll tell you what...we should wake up and come to truly understand that this is a spiritual war and the enemy has infiltrated EVERY facet of our daily existence with one purpose in mind...DESTRUCTION.

    Blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found this to be an interesting article, and especially with the rise of the skull and crossbones. Is it ironic that people who were ship by pirates ships across the Atlantic are now flying those colours?

    Stora in his book the Secret Societies of the American Elite shows that Freemasnry or Knights Templars were deeply involved in the Slave Trade. But we also know that African secret societies were deeply involved in the trade.

    Fratenity groups like the boule are now very involved in the underbelly as if they were never victims of the system in the first place. Have you seen freemansry remixes poping up everywhere?

    Parallels with heavy metal are so strong now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. America's Most Wanted did a segment on La La Brown's murder On 2/20/2010. They are still looking for her killer.

    It's interesting that she was receiving threatening phone calls before her death and was looking to move away from her financee' Kool Aid.

    They said that there was no forced entry into his studio and it's suspected that whoever killed them was known to both of them.

    Also, I found it interesting that although she had done a video and achieved what was trhought to be fame, she came back to Milwaukee shortly afterward dead broke. Someone had taken advantage of he business wise and she had no money.

    The streets and devil loves nobody! Please don't give your life to them. She seemed to be a nice young lady, was the baby in her family and now gone forever.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think we are making a mistake.Let us not blind ourselves by extreme positions and opinions that occult a part of the reality.The base and the principles of HipHop as a culture are to allow people who are in a certain way left out to express theirselves by fours different means that were at the time of its creation unconventional.That is what HipHop is as aculture.A MELTING POT OF MESSAGES AND FEELINGS EXPRESSED BY PEOPLE.What bothers us is that there are some powers who express wrong messages feelings and doings.They tell the young artists: If u wanna be heard, act wicked and tell the others to do so. What I wanna say is that HipHop is not promoting death.People use HipHop to promote death.

    There are people who dance, rap, and make ghrafittis to promote life.But not actually this worldy singers!Cuz no one can do the good if he ain't got JESUS!!!!!We do'nt wanna bring HipHop to the Church we wanna bring the Church to the Hiphop!

    And it can be done not only through rap dance deejaying or graffitis.It can be done by any other mean.I'm not ok with the fact that sisters and brothers who know how to rap worship God only trough that way.

    When they do so the culture becomes proeminent over the Will of God.I was praying yesterday for the brothers and sisters who had things in their heart that did not allow them to go further with GOD, and that they may even love more than God. Music , and HipHop as depicted in this blog is one of these things.

    I precise that HipHop has no rythm.You can make HipHop with any kind of rythm.So we ain't fighting the music but the spirit that the secular singers try to spread through this mean.Their way of thinking(I'm disgusted by this new christian-egotrip , where rapper are trina mix p,ride and God's Prophecies)Their way of living.

    ReplyDelete

Please send me an email if you try to post a comment and cannot do so. Dunamis1@netzero.com. Thanks.