WHY IS CHRISTIAN RAP GOING MAINSTREAM?

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Much has been written about mainstream rap’s religious revival. Popular hip-hop artists — most notably Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, and Kanye West — are weaving Christian themes into their music without apology. Surprisingly, the secular music marketplace is eating it up.

But as mainstream rap has become more Christian, Christian rap has become more mainstream. Artists like Lecrae are signing with secular music labels and refusing to be called “Christian rappers.” Many other prominent Christian artists are releasing records that focus more on political commentary than preaching and are incorporating provocative lyrics that may easily offend conservative Christian fans.

Wanting to know more, I decided to speak with Propaganda. The Los Angeles-based artist is one of the most prominent Christian rappers today and someone at the heart of this trend. His newest album “Crooked” is rife with straight talk about racism and injustice that will make many white Christians squirm. “God” is only mentioned in one song. Here we discuss the trends and why they matter.

RNS: Mainstream hip-hop artists from Kendrick to Chance seem to be getting more explicitly religious. Kanye even described his album as worship music. Why the shift?

PROP: First, I honestly think it has much to do with Lecrae’s success. He proved the market was ready for a new answer to culture. And people wanted to be a little more honest about where they are coming from and still sell records. Secondly, I think hip-hop has in some way had a religious tone, whether it was 5%er or Muslim. A Christian voice was just missing.

RNS: How is hip-hop uniquely positioned to raise spiritual questions and speak to matters of the soul?

PROP: Hip-hop sits in the stream of black music a la negro spiritual, jazz, blues, rock and roll, etcetera. Black music is not so much be right but must feel right. For music to feel right, it’s gotta speak to deeper parts of the human experience, whether lyrics or sound. It’s gotta hit you right in the feels. Hip-hop that stands the test of time does that.

RNS: As mainstream hip-hop gets more religious, Christian hip-hop artists seem to be growing more mainstream. Rather than just preaching through song, they are confronting issues like immigration, poverty, and racism. What do you make of this?

PROP: Well, my music has always sat in that justice space. It’s pretty much my lane. But to your question, I think the election and sociopolitical climate has brought out that undercurrent of institutional racism and sexism that marginalized people groups inside and outside the church have been wrestling with for years. I feel like this season made these things impossible to not speak out about. It feels like the very soul of our faith is at stake.

RNS: Lifeway banned an album that Humble Beast put out for referencing the word “penis.” What does this say about the state of conservative Christianity?

PROP: It’s on its last breath if it don’t evolve.

RNS: Do you think that underlying racism influenced their decision?

PROP: Absolutely. However, I think it also had to do with just some fear of loss of revenue. You gotta protect the core audience. I get that. We are not their core at all. Plus, it wasn’t necessary a choice of the whole organization but one or two buyers. The racial untone is unavoidable though because the Patriot Bible is still on the self.

RNS: You’ve said on social media and elsewhere that white Christianity has a race problem. How bad is it?

PROP: It’s an epidemic, bro, and what makes it worse is how long it’s festered. Take Abraham Kuyper, for instance. He’s a hero in the faith who stated that there is no part of the universe over which God doesn’t cry “mine.” But he also asserted that the African man’s brain is hopelessly childish and underdeveloped and will always need the white man to save him from himself.

Having said that, I am not hopeless because it’s white Christians that made the Underground Railroad possible. And it’s that duality that is at the core of this record.

RNS: Your new single “Darkie” is a prime example of this. The shockingly raw lyrics expose culture’s biases against physical features of blackness such as “nappy” hair. What do you hope to accomplish?

PROP: Well it’s one part of a whole story arc of the record. But in particular, “Darkie” is in an articulation of what happens when whiteness is centered as the ideal and becomes internalized and then weaponized among our own people. In many Latino countries and in Asian culture also being dark means you work in the fields. Fair skin is a sign of wealth.

I personally wrestled through loving my darkness. My hope is to encourage folks to enjoy whatever the Lord gave you — light or dark.

RNS: The song doesn’t really even reference God. Why? Will this be a problem for your Christian fans?

PROP: There is no reference to God on the entire album until the last song. This is def by design. Because that’s what life has been for a lot of us. We go through ugly things, ups and downs, and really don’t see God in there. Sometimes we don’t see any redemptive themes until years and years later. At least that’s what my life has been.

RNS: It seems to me that Christian rap is becoming less overtly Christian. 

PROP: Well, Christian hip-hop as a whole has traditionally had two basic approaches — one is the very apologetic overt approach, and the other is more like the subversive approach. I think that that apologetic side has remained consistently overt. Granted, that fan base has shrunk, but it’s still there. I think the success of Lecrae has made it seem like the move is toward subversiveness. But that’s just because he is at top of the food chain.

RNS columns are direct-published opinion pieces. They are not always edited and reflect the views only of the author.

Courtesy of RNS


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BIG CHURCH NIGHT OUT TOUR TO BEGIN 21 SEPT

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Premier Productions and GRAMMY® nominated Newsboys announce the all-new Big Church Night Out Tour. With nearly fifty shows across the U.S., each night will foster a time of worship, ministry and unity. Joining the tour will also be Sidewalk Prophets, 7eventh Time Down, Derek Minor, Blanca, Adam Agee from Audio Adrenaline, illusionist Brock Gill, worship leader Jamison Strain, and Jeremy Willet.

“When families, friends, and neighbors take time out of their busy lives to come together and join as one in worship, that is the church,” says Newsboys’ Michael Tait. “That is the makings of one BIG night, and we could not be more thrilled to be a part of it.”

Powered by Pandora and CCM Magazine, the tour will offer a chance for rejuvenation in exchange for the chaos and business of everyday life. In anticipation for the tour, Big Church Night Out will be taking over Pandora’s Christian Contemporary station from July 5-July 13, 2017 offering a pre-sale to listeners as well as in-depth interviews from Newsboys front man, Michael Tait.

Hitting the East Coast, South and Midwest, the tour will begin in Montgomery, Alabama and make its final stop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“The concept behind this Tour has been in the works for over three years,” expresses Roy Morgan, owner of Premier Productions, Inc. “Timing is everything, and the launch of Big Church Night Out this Fall will create a new touring brand in the marketplace for many years to come. Plus, it will be the first time that Pandora has provided its digital assets to support a Christian tour, along with the marketing efforts of our strategic radio partners and local churches.”

Big Church Night Out Tour dates (* all dates subject to change. More dates to be added.):
9/21 Montgomery, AL
9/22 Chattanooga, TN
9/23 Raleigh, NC
9/24 Florence, SC
9/28 Topeka, KS
9/29 Tulsa, OK
9/30 Beaumont, TX
10/1 Hidalgo, TX
10/5 Colorado Springs, CO
10/6 Amarillo, TX
10/7 Wichita Falls, TX
10/8 Austin, TX
10/13 Kalamazoo, MI
10/14 Bloomington, IN
10/15 Champaign, IL
10/19 Corinth, MS
10/20 Atlanta, GA
10/21 Pikeville, KY
10/22 Highland Heights, KY
10/26 Monroe, LA
10/27 New Orleans, LA
10/28 Tallahassee, FL
10/29 Estero, FL
11/9 Augusta, ME
11/10 Danbury, CT
11/11 Amherst, MA
11/12 Erie, PA
11/16 Cleveland, OH
11/17 Toledo, OH
11/18 Rochester, NY
11/19 Utica, NY
11/30 Shreveport, LA
12/1 Springfield, MO
12/2 Cape Girardeau, MO
12/3 North Little Rock, AR
12/7 Owensboro, KY
12/8 Rockford, IL
12/10 Moline, IL
12/14 Johnstown, PA
12/15 Bethlehem, PA
12/16 Baltimore, MD
12/17 Charlotte, NC

**Artists may vary by date.

 

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MANAFEST

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Singer/rapper/songwriter/author/skater Manafest releases his second consecutive independent and ninth studio album, Stones, July 21 through The Fuel Music. His first “full-on” rock album in five years, Stones can be pre-ordered now at Manafest.com/stones and has already sparked a Top 40 Billboard Mainstream Rock National Airplay chart hit with its title track. The album’s second single, “House of Cards,” is on deck now at SiriusXM Octane and other radio outlets internationally.

RELATED: VIDEO PREMIERE: Manafest Drops New Single/Lyric Video

For Stones, Manafest brought in long-time collaborator and Grammy Award-winning producer Adam Messinger (No Plan B, Magic!, Pitbull), Grammy-Award winning producer Seth Mosley (Skillet, We As Human) and, for the first time, producer and multi-instrumentalist Lenny Skolnik known for his work with Howard Benson on projects for P.O.D, Papa Roach, Three Days Grace and others. The resulting album is a window into struggles faced when rejection and the unexpected are experienced, while encouraging listeners to move past the barriers and to be more self-aware.

“Throughout the album, I explore how things are thrown in our path,” says Manafest. “I may face obstacles and judgements, but I’m not going to quit. A fighter never stops no matter what stones are thrown their way.”

From a young age Manafest has gone through life altering events that have made him the person he is today, such as losing his father to suicide at the age of five and having to put aside a budding skateboarding career due to an accident. Music gave Manafest the outlet he needed to spread positivity to others, and he’s on a mission to reach more people than ever delivering uplifting, envelope-pushing music.

Following the success at rock radio with “Stones,” Manafest’s “House of Cards” is meant to carry the message forward.

“If you are fed up with life and the way things are, when everything is feeling like a ‘house of cards,’ I want this to be an anthem for people to grab onto, refusing to call it quits,” says Manafest. “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over-and-over again and expect different results. Well I want different results, I want a breakthrough. Take another shot when you fall on your face, say enough is enough and change this person in the mirror.”

Taking the new music and messages found in Stones, along with his long list of fan favorites, on the road, Manafest is known for his high-energy performances. Recently touring with Scott Stapp and currently on the road with Adelitas Way, Manafest has also shared stages with the likes of P.O.D, Flyleaf, Thousand Foot Krutch, Skillet and others.

For all the latest Manafest tour dates, album news, music, videos and more, go to www.manafest.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest.com, ReverbNation, Spotify, Google+ and BandsInTown.

Courtesy Of NRT Magazine

 

Notice: The information in the post above may have been formatted to suit this website, but is not necessarily material originally created by, or is exclusive to Beatlock. Beatlock.net services Africa and around the world with online & offline music media. We are an Integrated, Marketing, Communications (IMC) and PR company that provides affordable music IMC & PR services and create dynamic press campaigns for our clients.

SEVEN DAY SLUMBER | ELEVENTH ALBUM OUT!

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With twenty-one years under their belts, it’s more-than safe to say Seventh Day Slumber have etched themselves into the fabric of Christian music history. With latest radio hit and title track to their upcoming eleventh album Found (Jul. 28, 2017, VSR Music Group), they’re now firmly planting their act as a mainstay, with a unique foothold as favorites from heavy rock to AC listeners and audiences alike.

Another rare attribute to the success of Seventh Day Slumber is their connection with family. From the get-go, they’ve always been intimately engaged with their fans, perhaps coming easy for all members as front man Joseph Rojas has weaved his role as family man with music from day one. Providing another twist to their story, is the fact that Rojas himself can trace his spiritual conception and development alongside that of the very public road of music ministry—offering keen insight and perspective for even casual fans—and Rojas has never shied away from sharing the most personal of stories, whether through song or sit-down’s.

Throwing-on another layer, Rojas’ eldest son, sixteen year-old Blaise is now the band’s full-time drummer, a position that for many may assume was natural, but, as you will read, the gig wasn’t easily inherited. With wife and kids so intrinsic to the life of the band, however, no magic “easy button” has been available to Rojas. A quick listen to “Found,” and our conversation with he and band mates Blaise, Jeremy Holderfield, and longtime member Josh Schwartz (currently filling-in for Ken Reed at the time of the interview), will reveal yet another part to this ongoing journey. Enjoy this chat as we sit down together over, of course, delicious Mexican food in Hendersonville, TN.

 

Notice: The information in the post above may have been formatted to suit this website, but is not necessarily material originally created by, or is exclusive to Beatlock. Beatlock.net services Africa and around the world with online & offline music media. We are an Integrated, Marketing, Communications (IMC) and PR company that provides affordable music IMC & PR services and create dynamic press campaigns for our clients.

Courtesy Of CCM Magazine