One Mic Two Gods: the controversy continues

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LIL WAYNE vs KING DAVID: Best Rapper Ever? distinguishing the holy from the profane by Nicole Hawkins May 29, 2012



King David wins his most famous battle as a teenager in front of the country.

That’s a common response when reflecting on the humble beginnings of King David from the Bible. But why does one of the fiercest gladiators long to be remembered as one of the “sweet psalmist of Israel”? (2 Samuel 23:1) It’s simple: being God’s unseen worshipper was more important than all the other titles. So what does that have to do with Lil Wayne?

Rappers can be seen as those called to be preachers for God. They are people who were made to deliver words to sway a generation. However, is that “anointed one” going to rap lyrics about a life of pleasure and power, or life of redemption and surrender? Either way, it must be seen, church kids are following Lil Wayne, and I haven’t seen anyone trying to remix the Book of Psalms. But who is the better choice to follow?

Since King David’s reputation precedes him with his life recorded in 3 books (1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 Chronicles); let’s look at Lil Wayne’s life first. Born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. in the Hollygrove section of New Orleans, LA, it seemed he lived a lifetime before released his first record.


Lil Wayne

By age 2, his parents were divorced and his biological dad deserted their family. Before he turned 10, with sheer endurance, he became known by Cash Money Records after performing at their parties. By age 11, he excelled in school, but had shot himself accidentally after he literally “rapped” himself into a record deal with Cash Money on their answering machine. However, his step-dad, Reginald McDonald, wouldn’t let him work with Cash Money Records. But a chain of events would change Wayne’s destiny. By age 15, he was taken out of school by his mom and got his GED, juggling fatherhood and the untimely murder of his stepfather.


Lil Wayne with father figure, mentor & producer, Birdman

INSERT Bryan “Birdman” Williams. Birdman took on two fatherless children: Lil Wayne and B.G. aka Baby Gangsta (whose father was also murdered) and formed the Hot Boys, including their “big brother” rapper, Juvenile. They exploded on the scene, upstaging older hip hop artists and gaining the fans of their age. Yet when B.G. got arrested and Juvenile left disgruntled over royalties, the roster seemed to be thinning out…Lil Wayne took his place and became a solo artist. To top it off, currently he has been reportedly offered a $150 million dollar contract with Cash Money, the largest music deal in American history. Even with the long-haired-tattooed-diamond-crusted-teeth-saggy-jean persona, Lil Wayne has left an impression, whether people listen to him or not.

What’s really interesting is that the backgrounds of King David & Lil Wayne are similar. They both lived under the shadow of a father who didn’t want them, and turned to a larger-than-life father figure. They pursued music at a very young age and became the lyrical savant of their time. They both face near-death experiences at a young age, and led the overlooked disgruntled of their generation into an army of leaders (whether rappers or fighters). And they had a team of lyricists around them to magnify their eye for talent. It almost seemed they could have been friends….

Lil Wayne


King David




ImageDid you know that hip-hop is registered as a religion? It was officially recognized in NY as a religion thanks to the so-called “prophet” of hip-hop, KRS One, less than 5 years ago. He didn’t want to just “spit” (rap) lyrics, but be the example of his beliefs.

These “lyrics” released “beliefs” that the founders of hip-hop adapted from mixing ideas of dominant religions to unify, teach, and change their generation. Thus KRS One is right about one thing: hip-hop is no longer just music, but something you live. Even though hip-hop music wasn’t originally created by Christians, it can still be redeemed as music by the Church.


ImageWell what about Christian hip hop? Even though rap is recognized as “hip-hop” music, rap is simply “rhythms and poetry”. Christian rap music can be poetic and set to rhythms that are holy, like the book of Psalms or Lamentations. But if rap is hip-hop music, then as a religion, rap would be its “worship music”. Looking at the origin of this culture, it would be hard to mix two religions because Christianity worships the Holy Trinity, but hip-hop proclaims every person as “god” for “self-worship”. Thus the origin and role of hip-hop music in our society should then be questioned and explored.

This all started by one of the founders of hip-hop: Afrika Bambaata. As a Muslim kid growing up in the South Bronx, he led the Black Spades gang post-Civil Rights era into 70s. Meanwhile, disco music was being dethroned by a new street sound where DJs were cutting into climactic beats of music and speaking over it. Always a trendsetter, Bambaata went from wielding guns to scratching records against DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash (other hip-hop founders), gaining respect without using violence.

At this time, Bambaata saw the Michael Caine Zulu film, watching these Black warriors fight the British. This inspired him to visit Africa himself, search them out, and came back embracing their theology, proclaiming himself as a “god”. For example, he was convinced that Christianity (religion of the Most High) was now the “white man’s religion”. But he must have forgotten that it was the Church that spearheaded the Civil Rights movement, taking on racism in the church and beyond.

He also popularized colors of most African nations, with pictures of Pharaoh on his shirts. Pharaoh is also the king of Egypt who released genocide against the Jews who grew in number and worshiped the Most High, when he believed he was “god”. He read about the Five Percenters, who was a group that left the Nation of Islam during the 1960s. Their 10 Tenets help Bambaata clarify these new beliefs, mixed with his own from Islam that he felt would empower the disenfranchised of his region. And he with the other founders started the Universal Zulu Nation. Some of these “tenets” are listed below:

Black people were the original people on Planet Earth That the Black Man is god and his proper name is ALLAH. Arm, Leg, Leg, Arm, Head That the unified black family is the vital building block of the nation

But how is he going to convince his own generation to accept this new doctrine? Music. Bambaata saw more than music or beats, and that hip hop would be the new and pure Civil Rights movement, better than the last. So he converts the other founders, as the gatekeepers of this music to create a culture for them by them. Even with good intentions to empower their people, they release this false gospel unchallenged, and it is seen as “positive and uplifting”.

ImageIt drew in people in the ghetto by its familiar sounds of Afro-Latin and Caribbean rhythm and poetry, and converts their region by these beliefs, and it worked. 40 years later, America has become the hip-hop ghetto. Now that the American church has embraced this genre, but it must not embrace its look or image. It needs to recognize that hip-hop is more than just music or beats to spice up worship, but a real culture where people live and breathe the lyrics, fashion, and more.

If the church would not mimic the hip-hop world, but establish its own culture being spectacles pursuing God, then Christian rap would need no validation for “keeping it real”.

Our kids are now pursuing hip-hop, and falling in its idolatry of “self-worship”. Jesus will not share his glory with another, rapper or otherwise. We as the church must raise our voice, contend as David did, so that we can truly worship in spirit and in truth (John 3:23-24) against what was established by hip-hop original agenda, and no longer live in compromise or self-worship. And we must not ignore the history, but submit to His will and let this generation redeem it God’s way, not ours.


Hello world! May 15, 2012

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