Why We Need Hip Hop (Pt. 2)

E.L. Jones Jr. is a Pastor, DJ, film
producer and so much more.
Here it is, the second installment in the "Why We Need Hip-Hop" series. This week we have none other than E. L. Jones Jr. AKA Pastor J. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and has ministered all over the world. This guy is like an urban church swiss-army knife. Whether it is dee-jaying, producing, filming, teaching, preaching, or counseling, he has been always been deeply involved with urban ministry. You can visit his website and follow his vlog at www.iAmPastorJ.com. He is a supreme connoisseur of music, especially rap music. He and His wife, Dr. Ann Marie Jones live in Greenwood, Mississippi. 

When Pastor Thompson called me about adding my voice to the topic, I asked about the direction I should come from. Are we asking why the church needs Hip-Hop, or why the world needs Hip-Hop? He paused and said, “Both.” This presents a unique challenge, mainly because historically, the church has rejected Hip-Hop as not being worthy of her attention or affection; and when attention has been given, it's been negative.

I would suggest that even though the church doesn’t like Hip-Hop, it still needs Hip-Hop. I base this on a couple of reasons. One, there is a large portion of the population in the United States and abroad that is a part of the Hip-Hop culture. There are those who disagree, but the evidence is insurmountable that this culture is growing at an alarming rate. It is growing in correlation with the post-modern mindset and the return of the same political climate and economic conditions that birthed it in the first place.

Rapper The Game's latest album "Jesus Piece" is indicative
of the spiritual direction that Hip-Hop needs and craves.
The church has an obligation to reach all people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and this means that if the church is to continue to be relevant in the 21st century (there are those who believe it is on the verge of extinction), then it must adapt its methodology to reach this large segment of society. 

The church needs Hip-Hop because our youth are being bombarded with Hip-Hop culture through popular entertainment. Even the previous bastions of conservative, Anglo-euro culture have succumb to the influence of Hip-Hop. In the last few years mainstream media, and previously unaffected sports with a predominately Caucasian following (like bowling and hockey), are now using rap music to advertise and expand their audience. Unless the church finds a way to present our timeless doctrine using the medium of Hip-Hop, we are in danger of losing our main source of posterity; the children and grandchildren of current members.

The world needs Hip-Hop because it is the voice of those who are not affluent enough to own mainstream media outlets; at least that use to be the case. Now the world needs real Hip-Hop to combat the influences of commercialism in rap music.  There needs to be a revival of authentic Hip-Hop, which spoke to the ills of society, rather than contributing to them. There needs to be a revival of the genuine article, which educated the young, rather than promoting ignorance. There needs to be a revival of the positive sort, which brought people together, even if it was just a city or neighbor, rather than encouraging us to kill those who live on the same block.

"Rush" started out as just another kid from the
hood. Now? Multi-millionaire media mogul.
The world needs Hip-Hop because it encourages the entrepreneurial mindset. Out of the roots of this urban culture came clothing designers, automobile modifiers, record label executives, and media moguls. They were driven to be more than artists. They used the music, dancing, and art to employ their friends from the neighborhood.  They reached back to where they came from to try to make it better.  As I look around in “the hood,” that spirit is lost. As my friend Dennis Wallace says, we need to put the neighbor back in neighborhood. 

Why do we need Hip-Hop? Because it’s woven into the fabric of society at large.  It is a culture that crosses color lines and national borders. It has infiltrated Main Street, Wall Street, and Church Street. While it does not look like your father’s Hip-Hop, there are still those elements that have value for the future. Were this not true, it would have gone the way of disco, doo-wop, and go-go music. Instead, it continues to grow, as younger generations hear and are inspired to continue the legacy of what the founders called Hip-Hop.

That’s My 2 LincolnsTM

-Pastor J