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Hip Hop Strikes Back
Hazakim's Response to The Truth Behind Hip Hop

Not everyone agrees with what G Craige Lewis says in The Truth Behind Hip Hop DVDs. Holy hip hoppers Hazakim felt the need to respond with a controversial rap called The Truth Behind Craige. You can read what motivated their response in this exclusive article.

Shalom. I am one half of the duo Hazakim, who responded to Craige Lewis's name-calling against other believers. While Craig has many valid points, I ask you this: Do his few valid points make up for calling other believers "fags" and claiming that they are "not saved"? Do his FEW valid points (which an unbeliever with an ounce of moral clarity would agree with) make up for his historical inaccuracies and absurd claims? And please answer this: Why does the black church often fall into the error of labeling everything "cool" or "new" as being of the world? I mean, is the "world" a state of the heart or a beat or a style of dress? Please read the Biblical references of when Jesus and the disciples condemned "the world". You will see that is NEVER in reference to music, a style of dress or slang (though it can encompass these things). Jesus condemned the "world" in terms of SIN. Slander is one of these sins (please read 1 Corinth 6:9-10). Here is an article I wrote before our song's release. Just something to think about.

In recent months, many within the holy hip-hop community have taken up the task of answering the contentions of G Craige Lewis and his organization, EX Ministries. The mature, gracious and gentle fashion in which these brothers have answered this man makes us truly proud to be numbered among them in this awesome movement. Rarely do we see an argument refuted with such grace, humility and gentleness; especially when the opponent being refuted has shown absolutely no grace, humility or gentleness in his approach.Initially we, like many within holy hip hop, decided to ignore this man and his inflaming rhetoric. Despite the contradictions, historical inaccuracies and invective accusations spoken by G Craige Lewis, we believed that a gracious response would provoke him to eventually see the error of his ways. Even after he arbitrarily posted our ministry’s name, among many others, on his web-site and demanded that parents and pastors not support us until we submit to his demands, we did not speak out against him. Even after I sent him a very brief non-confrontational e-mail in an attempt to engage in honest dialogue and received a response telling me to “get a life”, we still took it with grace. Recently, however, G Craige Lewis has taken his personal attacks on various ministries to the next level. In the December episode of his “EX Cast”, he and his guest Rondy Long spent at least an hour and a half mocking, condemning and name-calling legitimate ministries; ironically, all in the name of “holiness”. They went on record as calling the Cross Movement “backslidden” and “ridiculous” and even asserted that they had ‘signed the devil’s contract to make money’. In addition to these ridiculous claims they spent a good half hour gossiping about Kirk Franklin and, at one point in the show, shared a hearty laugh after Craige stated that GMA (Gospel Music Association) stands for “Gay Men With AIDS”. While his misconceptions and lies about the origins of hip-hop need to be and have been addressed, the primary focus is to expose him for his scandalous remarks. Put bluntly, this man has had it coming.

Our problem is not with Craige’s addressing the violence in secular music or the secularisation of the Christian music industry but with the lies, name-calling and gossip that he speaks in the process. This man has publicly referred to certain Christian artists as “fags” and “cross-dressers”, having no clue as to their personal lives or what the Lord has delivered them from. His “sermons” are filled with enough gossip to make Joan Rivers blush!

The Scriptures are loud and clear on the issue of tale-bearing and gossip.

“‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people... “ Leviticus 19:16

“LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbour no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman” Psalm 15:1-3

“A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” Proverbs 16:28

“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 26:20

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

The scriptures are clear that we must forgive our enemies and love those who despitefully use us. Many may interpret our response as unforgiving but Hazakim can say with a clear conscience that we love Craige Lewis and long for the day that he repents and puts a halt to this misled crusade of his.

In addition to the command to forgive, the scriptures declare that it is unlawful to tolerate a false teacher or prophet (1 John 4:1). Every messenger, message, and method is to be tried according to the Word of God and exposed if it is proven to be false. Sadly, in our Western society, the church is often compelled to keep the peace and remain silent at the expense of truth and principle.

The scriptures are replete with examples of how these loving men of God addressed dissenters and false teachers of their day. As a matter of fact, their harshest words were almost always reserved for those who operated in the name of God. Paul was forced to address and confront certain of his fellow Jewish believers who were spreading the false doctrine that gentile converts had to be circumcised in order to be accepted by God. Here was Paul’s response: “Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” Galatians 5:11-12

In other words Paul, being filled with righteous anger, declares that he wishes that these agitators who were spreading false doctrine would not only cut off their foreskins but completely cut “it” off!! In our western minds these words may seem too strong but we must keep in mind that those who teach false doctrine, adding their personal hang-ups to God’s laws, shut up the Kingdom of heaven to lost souls. This is a serious offense! While we are not suggesting that our opponent practice self-mutilation, it is hard to miss the striking parallels between the logic of these misled believers of old and that of G Craige Lewis.

In another passage we even find that Paul was forced to rebuke his fellow-laborer and apostle, Peter, for setting a bad example and mistreating other brothers.

“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles… When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all.” Galatians 2:11-14

Furthermore, we see that in cases where gossip was being spread about valid ministries, the apostles did not hesitate to expose the culprit and name names. In the following passage we find that, when defending his ministry:

“Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.” 2 Timothy 4:14-15

“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.” 3 John 9:9-11

At any rate we can see that exposing the error, rebuking the methods and naming the names of dissenters who slander and cause division in the Body of Messiah, is well within the boundaries of Scripture. We pray that G Craige Lewis repents of his grievous, self-righteous attitude and that he joins the true fellowship of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Until then, we encourage pastors, parents and all believers to boycott his efforts until he apologizes and repents. As the scriptures declare:

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" Romans. 16:17

One of the major problems with Craige’s argument is that its very foundation is built upon incorrect assumptions and historical inaccuracies. His contention is that “holy hip-hop” is an oxymoron because, according to him, hip-hop culture is a false religion that was spawned by Afrika Bambaataa and KRS One. This is patently absurd. Firstly, it is common knowledge that DJ Kool Herc is largely credited as the “father of hip-hop”. When asked by hip-hop historian Davey D what hip-hop is, Herc gave the following answer:

“Hip Hop... the whole chemistry of that came from Jamaica... I was born in Jamaica and I was listening to American music in Jamaica... My favourite artist was James Brown. That's who inspired me. A lot of the records I played was by James Brown. When I came over here I just put it in the American style and a perspective for them to dance to it… I'd find out where the break in the record was at and prolong it and people would love it... the rhyming came about because I liked playing lyrics that were saying something.”

This answer, given by the man rightfully credited by old school heads as the “father of hip-hop”, does not mention religion a single time. The saddest part is that G Craige Lewis has been corrected regarding this, yet continues to willfully spread misinformation. I guess he is “in too deep” now to recant any inaccuracies he has already spoken.

Craige claims that KRS is a founder of hip-hop. Hip-hop was “born” in 1973. KRS came on the scene in 1986 and dropped his first album, Criminal Minded, in 1987!!!! Furthermore, while Kool Herc was on the wheels of steel (creating this sub culture), KRS One was only 8 years old!!!! Are you telling me that, at 8 years old, KRS helped to found a religion called “hip-hop”, 14 years before he became a part of its music!?!? Big Daddy Kane came out around the same time as KRS, therefore, saying that KRS is a “founder” is like saying that Big Daddy Kane is a “founder”. This is absurd! While I respect KRS’s musical achievements, he is an eccentric personality who has switched his religious and social views more than once. He went from criminal minded to socially conscious to a metaphysical guru. So he created “The Temple of Hip-Hop” nearly a decade after his first album dropped. What does that mean to hip-hop? NOTHING. Craige, please answer how KRS is even relevant or qualifies as the “spokesman” any more than Schooly D or LL Cool J...

What is hip-hop?? How can Craige go from stating that KRS is the “prophet/spokesman of hip-hop” and that Bambaataa is the father of hip-hop, and then use an example like the Ying Yang Twins or some gangster rapper to state that hip-hop is violent, despite the fact that KRS and Bambaataa would consider these guys an AFFRONT to hip-hop culture? As we speak, KRS One and the Zulu Nation are attempting to boycott MTV and BET until these media outlets stop glorifying violence and show a more balanced view of hip-hop. How can it be both ways?? Don’t get me wrong, I agree that the religious views of Bambaataa and KRS are nonsense doctrines, but their hip-hop is not the hip-hop of 50 Cent. If Bambaataa is truly the originator and KRS the “prophet”, as Craige claims, he must define hip-hop according to their terms. So, is hip-hop a socially conscious metaphysical religion of "black empowerment" or a dumbed-down “slave” culture of black on black violence? Craige tries to have it both ways for the sake of convenience.

Lastly, would God give a man a "message" that is built upon false beliefs and historical inaccuracies? Surely God knows about the aforementioned facts. God would NOT give a message built on falsehood; therefore, we believe that God has not spoken to G Craige Lewis. Couple this with his comments on other valid ministries (conveniently before he drops his own “gospel rap” album), we assume that G Craige Lewis is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A man who disguises his own hang-ups in holy garb. I post the following scripture: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" Romans 16:17. Shalom.

Anthony of Hazakim, Contending for the Ministry

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Archived Comments

  • I cannot understand how G Craige Lewis has made it so far in the church without being held accountable for his assumptions and invective rhetoric. Good job Hazakim. Thanks for the info Clarky. — Ray

  • Basically music is from God period. Why must the devil have everything? If its not sounding like “precious memories” or “how great thou art” then its evil or of the world. And then there are the same people who sing these songs. There are too many closed minded people. Just because the song is sung in a certain way doesn’t mean we should say it’s not of God. I listen to Crossmovement and I find nothing wrong with them at all. Maybe hip-hop didn’t come off holy but like I said before music came from God and if we give it back to him and he receives the glory... who should be the one to put up a front. I don’t know what God is doing in the Christian rap artist life or how their ministry came about. How the secular artist portray rap music is their business. It shouldn’t have anything to do with the character of those who use it for the glory of God. Sometimes I just believe people are closed minded and they need to seek God first before they talk trash about other people. Gospel rap is not sinful... what part of gospel rap is sinful when they are talking about God in a righteous way. And what is wrong about Kirk Franklin? Nothing! Further more we don’t know where this man got his information from, I don’t know and I cant say. We give the devil too much credit, why can’t we just be glad that young men are doing something for the lord. Don’t be closed minded people. — Mel

  • After reading comments and articles regarding the issue, I can't understand why the love of Christ hasn't provoked a summit of some sort to dismiss the weaknesses and use the strengths of both views to further the Kingdom of God. For too long the Christian artist has had to walk the fine line of being a minister and providing means to support themselves while under constant attack, especially from the so called body of Christ. While viewing a website for a prominent ministry, I came across a link to EX Ministries. What I find odd about that is EX has named many artists and many theories, but didn't mention the name of an artist who has toured with many of those mentioned, discovered IN THE CHURCH by a hip hop producer and the son of the pastor of this prominent ministry! (Yes, I checked to be sure before I sent this). I believe that Christian artists must be accountable for what they sing, what say and the image they project, but let's be truthful, if God says there is nothing new under the sun, why can't hip hop be used? Please do your research, stop playing favorites and let's stand against Satan and not each other. — Aman

  • Since absolutes are rare, if possible I choose to follow the reasoning and thinking of those who comprehensively defend the cross. Those who tally and weigh the amassed amount of facts may miss the forest for the trees. Hip hop as a culture is beyond redemption by man, any man. Rap should be used as any tool, but when a sheep wears wolf clothing, what message is that sending? — Gino

  • Wow! Very well articulated by Hazakim. Point blank: Craige is inaccurate. — Donny

  • According to 1 Sam 16:7 you should not look upon the outward appearance of man — God doesn't do this — he looks at the heart. An illustration was given using three men in church. Brother X was in a suit and tie, Brother Y was dressed in a nice shirt and had a cellphone and a planner, brother Z had matching Tims, blue jeans, a gold chain and a Bible in his hand. When asked opinions of who was what — people thought that brother X was a deacon or preacher (not realizing that he was a sexual predator). Brother Y was thought to be organized but he really had no time for Christ and was placed on the deacon board and used his abilities to cheat the church out of money. Brother Z was thought to be thug — they noticed the chain, Tims, and clothes but not the Bible — he was the one sold out for Christ. If you are look outwardly to regard spirituality maybe we need to revisit the scriptures. — David

  • Either Craige doesn't get it... or he does! If he does, then he is nothing more than a pimp, and his message is a piece of the Gospel twisted up into his ho. He is pushin’ this on believers and since most don't believe the Bible, they believe what someone tells them about the Bible, they will believe and follow G Craige Lewis and his message. Hazakim put it in the plainest statement of truth. God will not give man a message based on something other than the truth. What is opposed to truth? A lie. His historical inaccuracies make his message a lie. Period. If I could find one... I tell you one inaccuracy in the Bible and validate it... I would leave Christianity, and so should you, for Christ would be a lie. — Jason

  • I still agree 100% with Craige Lewis. Not every Gospel rapper is doing things like this. We have people in the Gospel community today telling the youth that it is okay to listen to nasty secular music. As a youth that goes to high school, I can honestly say that nobody wants to hear this type of stuff. They view it as fake rap. And the next thing you know, they’re saying put on some real rap. — Temi

  • Like Craige, Hazakim has good points. I believe until "we" as a society decide to read, study, and practice Bible teachings, we will continue to be mislead by people with hidden agendas. We are in an age when deception is strong and sin saturates the air. I ask of anyone who reads this to always research and question the doctrines you are being fed no matter who speaks it! — Torry

  • He made a lot of valuable points, hip hop "gospel rappers" out there. I just want to say to you that maybe you shouldn't dress like them or even try to be like them in terms of the way you act on stage. I can't tell the difference between a gospel rapper and a worldly one without listening to the lyrics. To me that should not be the only difference — we should be able to differentiate you a mile away. Don’t try to be like the world in order to win souls. — Isabella

  • I must agree with Isabella. Lyrics should not be the only thing that differentiates you from the the secular hip hoppers. Craige's message may be extreme, but it's real enough to have an effect on your ministry. Not only that, I don't see him gaining any support from the world by preaching this message. His conviction can't be coming from the devil, because he is coming against him. I believe his message comes from God. — JP

  • The point is not about dress or how you act on stage, ‘cause that's just you being you. Are we to conform to how Craige wants us, or God? Craige has made some valid points, and I guess if you are a believer in him then you're his supporter. But Craige has also stated a number of fallacies about the culture and other men and women in the faith. How can we deny the ministries and move of God in these urban missionaries, then say we support a man who condemns them then puts out a rap CD? I’m not judging him but the spirit behind him. Craige is making tons of money unlike the emcees he tries to discredit. These people love the music and culture but hate the lyrics and sin that has long been in it. They want to create something that glorifies God, edifies the body, ministers to the lost and makes people get back to good music. Wearin’ a suit doesn't make someone holy, for there are many in the church that dress up but are going to hell. Rapping and singing like Yolanda or Dottie Peoples is not the answer. Having a heart for God and doing His Will is the answer! We need to stop making excuses and get at the root of the problem and not the surface values. Keep preaching the truth Hazakim and continue to glorify God in all you do. — Joseph

  • I 100% agree with Brother Craige, there is no holy hip hop. I have done modelling for hip hop and have listened to it. Before we even go to the Word of God just check out their beliefs and get an understanding of them. I think that’s where a lot of us are missing... may God reveal these things to you. — Dorothie

  • I have recently watched the videos of G Craige, and I must say that they were very impactful. The bible makes several references to seeking truth and holding fast to it. I have researched some of the matter and plan to research the whole matter. Yes there were some discrepancies, but there were also some valid points. Hazakim has made a very compelling argument, but I ask one question. What were the origins of Hip Hop Holy? I can not find where it states that Hip Hop's original state was ever something that was used to sanctify or magnify God. Can we just take the very things that are destroying God’s people and use them to "Magnify God"? Joseph made a statement stating "Are we to conform to how Craige wants us, or God?" But I dare to ask the question, Are we conforming to the image of our own imagination and dare to say it is God? If so this is a very dangerous position to be in. Craige presented some very valid points and he also presented some historical facts that were not accurate. But what man on this earth is perfect. I don't even care for hip-hop but I do sense that there is a lot of anger and that there are some people whose feelings are hurt from this video. Seek the Truth and walk in the ways of God! — Dan

  • Craige has made false claims in this thing. But the claim that continues to bother me is the claim that Sony Music have 'Devil Parties'. What’s that about? — Azubuike

  • First let me state I am a Christian rapper and singer. I started rapping and beat boxing back in 1984. I bought Rapper’s Delight when it first came out and loved it and that record is not the first mention of hip hop but that is what made it blow up "a hip hop the hibby the hibby". In the south we did know Afrika Bambata until Planet Rock. Now as far as religion goes Craig is right but that is not the root .Zulu Nations/Holy Tabernacle, 5 Percenters, all used rap as a vehicle to recruit. But it was the dj taking those turn tables and playing the break beat back and forth, basically turning these turntables into bands, voodoo drums that cause people to go crazy. The drums are not evil; it is the heart of the drummer. Change his heart and he will play those same drums with a different anointing. If your perspective or position for correction is not rooted in love then all you will get is hate. Let us look at successful street ministry or prison ministry; you better have love for the people that you are trying to change. Or you are will be defeating your purpose. So Craig wants to clean up the church he has to start with his mouth before he gets at those foul mouthed rappers. I have heard preachers call homosexuals faggots before and I know it is their flesh and the hate in their hearts manifesting for the person caught up in the sin. What do you do when the person becomes delivered oh God cleaned him up look at him he use to be a flaming faggot. Christian rap,holy rap, holy hip hop it is the heart of the rapper that counts not the title of the genre of music and to those who love calling themselves holy hip hoppers choose your battles wisely if God is with Craig you will be fighting God not Craig and if Craig is off with his crusade God will chastise and correct him. Think of it as some free publicity. If you want to rap so bad hit the club with that anointing and turn that night club into a light club. — Brother P