Disclaimer: The views and opinions of this article don’t reflect the opinions and views of the staff of Dead End Hip Hop.
As an artist, if you ever want to find out how much you are valued (or devalued ) for your craft, let a website create a list and watch the chaos circulate through the comments. This happens within all genres of music (the lists and comments), but none have been as chaotic or puzzling as the ones from an unlikely genre…. CHH (Christian Hip Hop).
This past week, Rapzilla (
one of nah… the biggest CHH Website right now) created a “Top 20 Christian Rappers of All time” list. The panel consisted of Rapzilla co-owner and music industry veteran Chad Horton, longtime Rapzilla contributors Steve Patton and Tyler Burns and three Christian hip-hop record label executives, Tim Trudeau, Josh Niemyjski and Joshua Wann. Even though there was a disclaimer that 63 artists/names were mentioned/nominated and the article even had the panelists own Top 20 (which included names not on the list), the readers/fans threw away the top and bottom buns of the article and went straight for the meat in the middle of the list. Many readers/fans thought they were getting a servants “well done” burger, but instead got a “I didn’t even know these were on the menu” veggie burger (No disrespect to my vegetarians and vegans with the analogy ). Immediately after the post was published, some of the panelist did “Damage control“. I want to give Josh Niemyjski a special high-five for his yummy and insightful bag of bread that he continued to feed the trolls with over the weekend via twitter/Facebook. Some of the comments spoke on the issues of how the list caused division within the genre and church, showed a side of racism, “weighed a little too heavy in the west” coast, not enough pioneers, favoritism, and selection shuffling problems.
Being an artist, CHH website owner and writer for various CHH and hip hop sites, I can see both sides. I’ve been asked to do my Top 20 list, but that’s not going to happen here. I didn’t want to click bait anyone and have my own agenda. I would rather speak to the fans and artists/inspiring artists within this genre and tell you 3 things to take from the list:
- Your impact and influence can’t be itemized. The list didn’t say exactly what the measurement was of the order. Was it record sales, impact/influence, tours, achievements, etc? When it comes to you and your career, you know your impact. When you do a show or make a song that changes someone’s life, that simply can’t be measured. Just because you don’t make a list, doesn’t mean that you are not an impact or have influence within your community or culture. Income is what you take, but impact is what you leave.
- Your future should reflect your past. One huge flaw within hip hop and African-American culture, is our lack of respect for our elders. When Rolling Stones, KISS, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Madonna or any other artist from other genres release an album, the last thing that their fans say is that they are too old to be doing that. You can go to any Wal-Mart, Hot Topic or any store where they sell vintage t-shirts and you will always see the pioneers musicians of other genres on display…. and you will always see the younger generation supporting by wearing the shirts. My point? Over half of CHH fans don’t know or support their forefathers. You do know someone made a path for Lecrae right? You do know someone made a path for Da’ Truth right? It is always going to be hard making a productive future in something if you don’t know it’s progressive past.
- What you do for the FATHER is Facts, What you do for OTHERS is opinions. Don’t forget the real reason why you decided to become an artist in CHH. Don’t forget why you became a fan of CHH. Don’t forget why you got saved. It wasn’t for the fame, money or status. All of those things are subjective and are opinions to others (and even yourself) if you truly have them. The fact of the matter, is that you do all that you do to glorify God. If you focus on the facts of building the kingdom, the obsession of opinions becomes obsolete.
I really hope that this article brings some clarity to some that are offended or disappointed with the list. Remember, disappointment is the result of expectation. As a fan of CHH, your expectation should be that all of the people on the list are building the kingdom up in some form through their music or influence. As a artist, your expectation should strive to use your gift and purpose to proclaim the word of God to all your fans and critics. I’m happy for all of the artist on the list and respect the panel’s decisions. I’ll leave you with this rewording of Luke [10:20], Don’t strive simply to be happy to be on a “best of” list, but to be on the list within the book of life in heaven. Spread The Soup!