Should Christians Give Chance The Rapper a Chance?
By: Patricia Ndaya
Last Sunday, marked the 59th star-studded event, Grammy Awards ceremony, a night where the biggest musicians in Hollywood get together and are awarded by The Recording Academy. I made a decision years ago, when I rekindled my relationship with Christ, to no longer listen to secular music. I personally define secular music as music that doesn’t glorify God and isn’t made by a Christian. When I say Christian, I don’t mean someone who defines themselves as a Christian. When I say Christian, I mean someone who lives a godly lifestyle and walks in obedience to God’s word, at least publicly, because only God knows the true heart of man (referring to 1 Kings 8:39). Well, because of this choice, I have also chosen not to watch major award shows like the Grammy’s. I even skip the halftime show of the Super Bowl.
But Monday morning, my Facebook timeline (where I predominantly have Christians friends) was in quite a frenzy about Chance The Rapper. The American Hip-Hop artist performed with gospel artists Tamela Mann, Kirk Franklin, and a gospel choir singing a medley of “How Great” by Chris Tomlin and “All We Got” from Chance’s newest mixtape Coloring Book. After seeing many snippets of his Grammy performance on Snapchat, with people showing signs of approval, I decided to give in and watch the full performance. Here are my thoughts…
In all honesty, I was confused. I was confused seeing prominent gospel artists joining him and by his decision to do that performance with those songs and make that album. Once I had the chance (no pun intended) to let it all sink in, I had to look at it with my spiritual eyes and not my fleshly thoughts, and remind myself not to judge unrighteously.
Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly. - John 7:24
Chance defines himself as a Christian man from Chicago (a city that paved the way for gospel music in the early 1900s) and says Coloring Book is an ode to his Christian faith, something that he does not hide. Although mainstream media is referring to Chance as a modern day Christian rapper and calling Coloring Book a Christian album, I'll agree to disagree. As someone who was a former Chance supporter myself, I can tell you that his new album and efforts to turn the Grammy’s into a pulpit, is not enough to have me listening to his music again. I am not denouncing his right to glorify God and preach the gospel. The bible says in Mark 16:15 “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” But in Coloring Book there is a lot of profane language, inappropriate innuendos and clear examples that Chance isn’t living the most godly lifestyle. He associates himself with some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop, who release songs that are killing our generation and planting seeds of sin and impurity in the minds of many. Who you surround yourselves with says a lot about who you are as a person.
1 Corinthians 5:11 Now, what I meant was that you should not associate with people who call themselves brothers or sisters in the Christian faith but live in sexual sin, are greedy, worship false gods, use abusive language, get drunk, or are dishonest. Don’t eat with such people.
So, do I support Chance’s performance? I actually don't have a final response. While watching videos of him performing his songs with lyrics such as “The first is that God is better than the world's best day, God is better than the best day that the world has to offer” and “Magnify, magnify, lift it on high,” I saw people commenting under his videos saying that he inspired them to go back to church or they want to be more of an unashamed Christian, which is beautiful. Chance has even tweeted:
I think our brother has a ways to go, but who am I to throw stones at a young gentleman who announces his love for Christ. He is on a journey just like the rest of us. He has used his voice not necessarily to invite people to church, but to go to the places where culture is in need of God and rap that Jesus is the way. Chance is not perfect and I do not support his music but I do applaud his unfiltered love for Jesus and the gospel. I am not upset at him for setting his eyes on Jesus or at least trying to.
Needless to say, the topic of Christian artists has become more and more complex. I hear Jesus proclaimed less by Christian artists and more by secular artists. Christian artists no longer want to be defined as a Christian artist, rather, an artist who happens to be a Christian. So with that, I’ll just keep praying for our generation, supporting people on their journey with Christ and let God have the final say about the actions of others. Be vigilant with our culture and simply ask God if the music that you are supporting is of his willing.
Stay Blessed friends.
Ps. One of my favourite YouTubers, Joseph Solomon, touched on this topic as well. Click the link to hear his perspective! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqlLN5cSBKA