Christian contemporary music happens to be probably the most controversial music genres of all. Some critics argue artistes in the genre only waste their time for hip hop cannot be good medium for spreading the Word of God.
Others counter argue with a view that any music genre can fit well to spread the gospel. Those of this view reason that for the Holy Scripture to reach almost all inhabitants of the planet, each genre- be it rock, RnB, pop, jazz, etc. – should have its own Christian singer-songwriters and/or rappers.
In the country, gospel hip hop artistes have a very uphill task to be accepted as Men of God with microphone as their tool to have their work accomplished. Hip hop being an alien kind of music in the country, it sounds even weirder when people hear it can carry the message of Salvation.
Recently, Malawi HEAT emailed Fountain of Victory’s worshipper and upcoming songbird Michelle Banda alias Sanctified a questionnaire on how Christian is Christian rap.
“Christian Rap is really changing souls because it’s not just rap it’s more of a movement. Now, the movement is growing, many people are recognizing the voice of the Lord through this type of music. I’m a living testimony of that.
“I gave my life to Christ because a rapper approached me and preached to me the word of Life, He directed me closer to Christ and his music gives hope too. Listen to TNO Crazy4God albumit’s the movement….” Sanctified understands.
She adds with concrete evidence, “Christian hip hop is changing souls and touching lives of people (the likes of ‘UlendoWaKumwamba’ by Suffix and Matol’s ‘AnkaesandiMasewera’). The world is being influenced,motivated, touched,changed and helped to get closer to God’s presence.
“We’re not doing this on our Own its God who leadeth. This is why the movement is touching lives of people through Holy hip hop though some are just pretending but those who stand on the pillar and the ground of truth, God manifests through their music and change someone’s life with their bars.”
Another upcoming Christian rapper Nestor Mw, real name Nestor Chikoti, also told this writer recently on how he views the element of Christianity in Christian rap.
“We don’t just rap to entertain people but to bring them closer to God. It’s a ministry not just music,” Nestor sets the ball rolling.
“We’ve received testimonies among fellow young people who get closer to God when they just listen to a gospel rapper rapping about the Kingdom[of Jehovah]…
“…and then they realized that it’s also possible to do hip hop by praising God and they’re now spreading the gospel through rap music too.”
What makes music lovers have second wild thoughts when they wish to start following Christian urban music is the conduct of holy musicians themselves.
They keep beefing each other, arguing and counter arguing on petty issues. When David Kalilani , for instance, released a track targeting Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering(ECG) ‘Osaopa’ , another upcoming and little known Christian rapper threw jabs at Kalilani in a song he shamelessly called ‘Osaopa Part 2’.
That aside, some Christian urban musicians are always found performing or chilling in clubs. To put all that into perspective, Timoteo Malawi made headlines for wrong reasons late last year (2016) when he performed at a show sponsored by one of the country’s beer makers. At the event Timoteo made appearance, fun seekers could be spotted drinking beer the way cichlid fish drink water at midday.
Pentecostal Life Radio decided to ban the careless rapper’s music at their station. This only shows Christian contemporary musicians have to put their house in order if they are to bring lost souls to Jesus Christ.
In addition to that, newly born-again rapper Gwamba continues to receive criticism on his clinging to same style he used to be known for before turning to God. Malawians think the Enlightened Christian Gathering regular worshipper still has some secular ‘hangover’ in his music.
On how authentic is Christian rap, Nestor has a very convincing evidence, “The industry now is flooded with many artists but now you can see even on Malawi Music, Gospel rap is breaking downloads than secular.
“If Christian hip hop is not changing souls, why would people love it? They love the music they feel comfortable with huh!! And as we look back singing songs of honor, Christian rap is changing souls and we’re dragging people closer to Yahweh…
“…cuz this is the least we can do. Not singing songs to just make money and you bribe people its gospel no!! This is the time to tell the world about Christ not to make a name!!! Note that “MEN OF GOD ARE NOT GOD OF MEN, THERE’S GOD lets worship Him not to make a name so that others should worship us….” Chikoti finishes voicing out his opinion with minimum pride.
Rap is an influential genre to reach out to the youth and there can never be a youthful Christian not listening to rap music which is to mean rap is changing souls and will be changing souls by the power of the Son…